Screams and wails of pain were the order of the day on Thursday at St Bernard Primary School, Ugwu-Okpoga, venue of the funeral mass for the 26 Omusu Edumoga villagers who were murdered by persons suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.
Omusu Edumoga is in Okpokwu area of Benue State.
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, who led members of his cabinet and other government officials at the occasion, decried the continuous killings of people of the state by people he identified as Fulani herdsmen.
Ortom, who decried the atrocities meted on Benue farmers by Fulani herdsmen, said “enough of the merciless killings of the people of the state.”
The governor, who condoled with the bereaved families, further reiterated his call on security agencies to arrest the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, whom he said were the “sponsors of the killings in the state based on comments credited to them.”
He insisted that the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law recently promulgated by his administration had come to stay, stressing that the state has no land for open grazing and crop farming to go on concurrently.
While assuring the people of his administration’s readiness to continue to respond to security challenges, the governor said data were already being gathered for compensation for damages caused by herdsmen attacks in the state.
In their remarks at the funeral service, Deputy Governor, Benson Abouno; Deputy Speaker of the State Assembly, Mr. James Okefe; a representative of Catholic Bishop of Otukpo Diocese, Rev. Fr. John Attah, among others, condemned the killings and called on Federal Government to put an end to the carnage.
Earlier, the three socio-cultural groups in the state represented by Mr. Omele Amali and the representative of Movement Against Fulani Occupation, Dave Ogbole, said they had an inkling of the attack and reported same to relevant authorities, but regretted that nothing was done to prevent the massacre.
In his sermon, chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, Benue State chapter, Rev. Akpen Leva, prayed God to grant the governor and the entire Benue people the strength to overcome the menace of herdsmen attacks.