“Initially they were coming in small numbers, but later we discover that they began to hire other Fulanis from other neighbouring countries to help them kill the Agatus.
“When they are coming, they come in large numbers and with sophisticated weapons. In fact the weapons they are using even our Nigerian police cannot afford those kinds of weapon. When they are coming, they will be shooting sporadically, throwing tear-gas, burning down houses, and slaughtering people like animals.”
Hon. Sunday described as untrue, the allegation that the “the crises started following the killing of 10,000 heads of cattle belonging to the herdsmen by the Agatu people,” saying that the crises started when the Agatu people drove the herdsmen out of their land because of the damage on their farms lands by their cattle.
“What the Agatu people do mostly for a living is farming. Most of the food we eat in Benue State comes from Agatu. The fulani herdsmen will allow their cattle enter into the farmlands of the Agatu people, and the cattles will end up eating or destroying the crops.
“It is very painful to see that after farming and expecting to reap the fruit of your hard labour, you end up discovering that your labour is in vain. This kept going on for months, the people kept reporting the incident to the traditional ruler to help them out. After series of meetings with them, the incident kept reoccurring.
“The best option for the Agatu people was to tell the herds men to leave their village but they refused saying this is Nigeria and they have the right to stay anywhere they want as far as Nigeria constitution is concern, and that is how the crises started.
“Most of the Agatu people are now in Otukpo, Apa, and Adoka. So many of them are displaced. Their wives, husbands, children were killed and some of them made them orphans. The herdsmen not only kill the Agatu’s, they also go to their farms to destroy the foods stored in their bans.
“Some Agatu farmers store some of their farm produce in their bans in the farm. The fulani’s will also go to their farms with their cows, and allow their cows to eat the foods stored in the bans, when their cows have eaten to their satisfaction, they will set the remaining foods ablaze,” Sunday said.
Speaking further, he noted: “They attack at anytime of the day and because they are well armed, the villagers can’t fight them. Once they see the Fulanis coming, they will take to their heels and those who can’t run fast enough are killed.
“Agatu is a large community. Any area that the Fulanis discover that soldiers are deployed to, they won’t attack that area again, instead they will move over to the next area.”
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