A clearer picture of why Fulani herdsmen invaded Agatu local government area of Benue state emerged yesterday at a stakeholders meeting organized by the Inspector General Of Police, IGP, Solomon Arase, when leader of the herdsmen in the besieged community, Ardo Boderi, claimed that over 10,000 of their cattle were allegedly killed by the people of the area.
The meeting held in Makurdi, the Benue state capital, had in attendance top Benue state government functionaries, chiefs and major stakeholders from Agatu and Fulani leaders in both Benue and Nasarawa state and presided over by the IGP.
Ado Boderi, who spoke on behalf of the Fulani community, insisted that the act sparked off the crisis but decried the role being played by criminal elements from both sides which he claimed escalated the crisis.
On his part, Akpa Iduh who spoke on behalf of the Agatu people, said the Fulanis were bent on taking over Agatu land hence their resort to recruiting mercenaries to wipe out his people.
He lamented that the crisis had escalated to a war situation where women, children and the elderly were killed indiscriminately by the invaders and urged the authorities to stop the carnage in Agatu land.
Addressing the gathering, the IGP who implored the feuding parties to sheath their swords urged them to learn to live in peace and harmony irrespective of socio-cultural and religious differences.
He said it was normal to have disagreements as human beings but warned that such disagreements should not be allowed to degenerate to a complete break down of law and order or any form of social disorder.
Mr. Arase who explained that he had received directives from President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure an end to the crisis said “we have already deployed four additional units of the Mobile force to the crisis zone and I can assure you that we have enough manpower to quell the crisis.
“This country belongs to each and everyone of us, we have no choice but to learn to live in peace and harmony with one another irrespective of our differences.” the Police boss added.