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Soldiers protecting herdsmen killing us – Benue youths cry out

Some young people in Apa, Benue State, have expressed concern that Nigerian Army personnel stationed nearby are shielding the murderous herdsmen wreaking havoc on the local government.

Recall that 100 individuals, including traditional chiefs, were recently slain in the Apa local government area by suspected herdsmen.

Youths from the neighborhood staged a large-scale protest after the incident, blocking the Oweto-Loko/Abuja motorway.

Ahmed Ocheje, a local youth leader, called on the commandants of the 72nd Special Forces Battalion in Makurdi and the NASME Barracks to explain to Nigerians what they ordered their troops to perform in Apa.

The youth leader claimed that despite the military’s presence, the roaming herdsmen continue to commit their heinous crimes without encountering any resistance.
He said, “I’m from another community called Ikobi. Since the 2nd of January, we are being attacked by herdsmen. Nobody from that community can reside in these places. We have been in the local government headquarters [Ugbokpo]. More than how many communities in Ikobi; Okpa, Olopka, Ijaha, Igbobi, Imana, and Akpete have been deserted? All these places I mentioned have been deserted. Which government will not protect its citizens?

“When the youths start shouting, [the government] will say we are making trouble. We are not making trouble. We have been protesting since morning, none of us has raised arms or cutlasses. But Fulani man will be rearing cows with a cutlass, AK47. Nobody will say anything. They [Fulani] have immunity that they are operating that we Nigerians don’t understand. If they are more powerful than other citizens, the government should tell us.

“In a community called Igbobi in this local government, a chief was killed and the hand that controls the [chieftaincy] beads was taken away by the same herders. And you want us to keep quiet? The government should tell us where we belong to. Are we also citizens of this country? I’m asking questions and I need answers. Soldiers will be around the communities but still the Fulani herdsmen will be coming to behead people. What are they here for? Are they protecting us? Are they guiding the communities? Or are they playing games with our lives?” he queried.

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