The Governor of Benue State, Hyacinth Alia, has called upon the Nigerian Army to deploy soldiers to tackle the recurring violence between farmers and suspected herders in the state.
During a courtesy visit to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, at the Army Headquarters in Abuja, Governor Alia emphasized the need for heightened security measures, particularly in the state’s forest regions. He expressed his concerns about the ongoing violence, which has hindered farmers’ access to fertile land for agricultural activities.
Governor Alia then urged for the establishment of a battalion at Ugbema and the creation of seven forward operating bases in Guma, Logo, Ukum, and Kwande Local Government Areas to enhance security and rapid response.
Governor Alia stressed that the most fertile areas of the Benue Valley within the state remain inaccessible to farmers due to threats from armed herders and bandits.
The governor explained, “Now it is such that two to five or more people are killed every week as a result of violence from these gangs and groups, which, in a few cases, are not widely reported. The 401 Special Force Brigade is doing its best, but their deployment is primarily focused on the main roads, while killings continue in the hinterland.
The governor also suggested that in the immediate term, additional manpower and patrol vehicles should be provided to the 401 Special Force Brigade and Operation Whirl Stroke to improve their reach.
In response, the Chief of Army Staff pledged to take measures to restore peace to the Benue Valley saying more troops and combat enablers would be deployed to 104 forward operating bases, with the establishment of additional bases contingent on budgetary allocations.