Angry internally displaced persons attacked the convoy of Nasarawa state governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, while he was paying a sympathy visit to an IDP camp in Agwatashi, Obi local government area of the state after suspected herdsmen killed 32 people.
At least 32 Tiv villagers were killed when suspected herdsmen carried out coordinated attacks on several communities across Nasarawa state between Saturday, April 14 and Monday, April 16, 2018.
The governor visited the camp on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, with state’s security chiefs to assess the situation and sympathise with survivors when he was attacked.
According to a report by TheCable, youths in the camp started threatening chants when the governor tried to make a speech, forcing him to leave the camp.
While making his exit, his convoy was attacked with stones, which prompted police officers to break up the mob with tear gas canisters.
In reaction to the incident, Governor Al-Makura expressed his anger at the conduct of the youths and said it indicates that their predicament might be self-inflicted. However, he also remarked that the government will not relent in securing the safety of people in Nasarawa state.
He said, “The reaction from the people is understandable given their plight and we have to use diplomacy to address the issues. Continuing to address them at the moment would not yield any result so we have decided to avoid further altercation.
“However, this action appears to indicate that the problems in some of these communities are self-inflicted. If people can conduct themselves in this way, then you know that there is more to it than what is happening. If you will want to take laws into your own hands, you will be left to defend yourselves.
“However as a responsible government desirous of protecting lives and property, we shall explore all avenues to ensure the safety of the people.”
The perpetrators of the recent attacks reportedly laid waste to people in Awe, Keana, Obi and Doma local government areas of the state, killing dozens and injuring many others.
The governor instructed chairpersons of the affected local government areas to provide proper relief for them.
According to a report by The Punch, around 15,000 fleeing Tiv villagers are believed to be stranded on the streets of Lafia, Nasarawa’s capital, with over 100,000 already taking refuge in different IDP camps at Agwatashi, Aloshi, Awe, Adudu, Obi, Keana, Doma, and Agyaragu.
The struggle for access and control of lands over which roaming herdsmen graze their cattle has led to conflict with local farmers all over the country, resulting in the death of hundreds just this year alone with herders credited with a majority of the attacks.
Taraba and Benue are two of the states most affected by herdsmen violence in the country as hundreds have been killed in several attacks carried out, mostly in rural communities, in 2018.