The tribal leaders of Benue state, under the aegis of Mdzough U Tiv, the Idoma National Forum and the Omi Ny’Igede have revealed that over 122 Tiv speaking indigenes of Nasarawa State have so far been killed by suspected herdsmen.
The ethnic groups said the attackers also sacked 1,000 Tiv villages in the recent attacks on southern part of the state.
In a letter of appeal for intervention addressed to the Speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, the tribal leaders through their Chairman, Chief Edward Ujege urged the Speaker to use his good offices to check what they described as an ethnic cleansing.
The letter reads in part, “we find that the Tiv of Nasarawa State have faced an existential threat as evident in the wanton killing of the Tiv people in Obi, Doma, Awe, Keana and Lafia East Local Government Areas that constitute Nasarawa South Senatorial District by suspected herdsmen.
“There is large scale destruction of property, food stuff and farm lands with homes taken over by the terrorists. Over 1,000 villages have been ransacked with about 100,000 of our people displaced and now taking refuge in various IDP camps within and outside the state.
“Mr. Speaker and Honourable Members, findings by our organization revealed that 122 indigenes of Nasarawa State who are of Tiv extraction have lost their lives to the insurgency attacks between January and April, 2018.
“While we do not concede that the attacks will continue unabated, we are tempted to conclude based on the foregoing that if this is not checked, Nasarawa State would have lost 244 souls by the second quarter of this year.
“The mode and nature of the attacks signify a conspiracy and well planned cleansing of a particular ethnic nationality. The withdrawal of Mobile Police units deployed to the troubled areas is a clear indication of lack of commitment and will on the part of government to provide security for lives and property especially for the Tiv people of Nasarawa State.
“We are baffled that in a desperate move to justify the ethnic cleansing of our people in Nasarawa State, some persons are linking the killings in Nasarawa State to the promulgation of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of Benue State.
“It is indeed worrisome that such insinuations are coming up when uncontestable facts of invasion of Tiv communities in Nasarawa occurred in 2001, 2011 and still happening in 2018.
“We resort to this letter following the lack of attention given to our series of correspondences for audience and action from the Government of Nasarawa State on the urgent need to address the plight of the Tiv people of Nasarawa State.”