The herdsmen are still in control of certain areas in Agatu, the group alleges
A group named ‘Idoma Initiative‘ has raised alarm over the occupation of some villages in Agatu by Fulani herdsmen after the herdsmen carried out massive killings of indigenes that left over 300 people dead two months ago.
Speaking at a concert organised by the group in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja yesterday, May 22, the leader of the group, Paul Edeh called on the federal government to intervene in the situation.
Edeh warned that if the government failed to act, the Idoma people might take the laws into their hands and decide to defend themselves against the herdsmen.
The concert tagged ‘Agatu Peace Concert’ was organised by the group to advocate peace for the people and also to raise funds towards the rebuilding of Agatu.
Veteran pop star, 2face Idibia performing at the Agatu Peace Concert yesterday, May 22
Popular Idoma indigenes graced the occasion, even as musicians from the area like 2face and Terry G were also on hand to perform at the event to lend the support to the group’s cause.
According to Edeh: “The reason for the concert is to bring to fore as we have done in the past few months since the Agatu massacre, the pains the people feel, to keep it on the front burner.
“I can confirm to you that Fulani herdsmen are still occupying some villages that were originally for the Agatu people, particularly on the Nassarawa State axis.”
In the same vein, one of the leaders of the group named Moses Paul gave reasons why the group decided to use musicians to create awareness for the Agatu people.
He said: ”We are using musicians because music is a very powerful tool, people like Fela Anikulakpo Kuti used music. Bob Marley sang untill South Africa was free…, and we have our own legend, Bongo Sikwe, he is here too, music is beyond entertainment and can be used to bring change.”
Speaking on the crisis, Paul said: ”Up till now, people do not know the extent of the damage and the carnage, and the depth of what took place in Agatu.
”Over 2,000 houses have been razed, we have video clips and pictures to show, people have been killed, children were cut down like trees, people have fled their homes, over 10,000 people have no homes to lay their heads, and so this is what we continue to do to raise funds; and do the little that we can and also to put it in focus until government and people rise up to do what they need to do in support of the Agatu people.
”The killings have not even abated yet ,they have curtailed it but there are villages in Agatu, almost about for villages that have been taken over completely by Fulani herdsmen, and until the people can go back and farm, until restoration is done, no, government hasn’t done anything”
Paul berated the governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom for visiting Agatu, more than a month after the killings, citing the case of Enugu state, where the governor was at the scene of the attack in less that 24 hours.
”In less than 24 hours when the Enugu carnage happened, which was less than 10 per cent of what happened in Agatu, the governor of the state was there and even the IG, that is what I call responsiveness,” Paul said.
Meanwhile, the Daily Trust Board of Economists led by former chief economic adviser to former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, has advised the Muhammadu Buhari government on how to tackle the constant clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the country.
The group urged the government to assist herders to transform from cattle rearing as a cultural practice to rearing as a business undertaking.