Written by Scholastica JOSEPH

Over 1000 Women Mourn, Protest New Year Attacks in Benue

No fewer than1000 Benue women, cladded in black, today, stormed Government House in Makurdi, to mourn and protest the gruesome killing of innocent people in the state on the eve of New Year.

The women had staged a peaceful protest to the Benue People’s House, Makurdi  where they met with the wife of the governor, Mrs.Eunice Ortom, to commiserate with her over the killing of unarmed and defenceless citizens of the state on New Year's eve in Guma, Logo local government areas and other parts of the state.

All dressed in black and moody looks while some cried, the women bore placards with several inscriptions including "A Black New Year For Benue, Doom For Democracy", "On Ranches, Benue Stand" among others.

Addressing the gathering, Mrs. Ortom who asked that a minute silence be observed in honour of those slain in the attacks, called for global attention to the continuous killings of Benue people by herdsmen, describing the killings as the highest form of injustice.

“We appeal to the world to rise and help us end this nonsense. The agenda is to take our land. It is most unfortunate that our people are being killed on the land which was given to us by God. We are calling on every one that has blood flowing in his/her veins to rise up and help us end this injustice”.

Mrs Ortom who noted that it was not a time to play politics or trade blames said this is rather a time to be alert, focused and retake the land from the enemy just as she called on mothers to advice their children on the need to put up a United front and be careful about comments they make.

She commended the women for their support since the attacks pledging that governor Ortom would neither betray the trust reposed in him nor neglect his responsibility to protect lives and property in the state.

On her part, the Commissioner of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Alaadi Isiegbe-Ajene, described  the attacks as cowardly and challenged the perpetrators to come open if truly the attacks were communal clashes as the IG of police claimed.

Earlier, the leader of the group, Hon Mrs Rebecca Apedzan, who said the women had come to show support to the governor on the implementation of anti- open grazing prohibition law also asserted that Benue women will resist the plot to take over their land as they did during the JIHAD.

Mrs. Apedzan refuted claims  by some federal government officials that perpetrators of the attacks were killers insisting that they are Fulani herdsmen who are being sponsored by powerful indibiduals in the country.

Also, a former Speaker of Benue State House of Assembly, Mrs Margaret Icheen appreciated the steps taken so far by Governor Ortom against the recent attacks by the herdmen adding that Benue women are poised to lend their support to the governor to end the killings.

In their separate remarks, wife of Tor Sankara, Mrs Elizabeth Shuluwa, APC Women Leader, Mrs Yange, spokesperson of National Council of Women in Nigeria, Mrs Grace Ochoga, among others, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to step into the matter and resolve it or risk losing support from Benue state in the next election.

The women also called on Benue Women living in other parts of the country and around the world to join forces with them to raise their voices against the attack.

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