The people of Agono community in Keana Local Government Area of Nassarawa state are the latest victims of killings by suspected herdsmen as a family of seven was reportedly murdered in the early hours of Monday.
This gruesome murder was confirmed by the Osana of Keana who was said to have summoned an emergency meeting of the Chiefs, elders and the youths immediately after they confirmed the incident. According to reports, this would be the fourth of its kind in 2018 alone in a village that is inhabited by mostly Tiv.
A source from Keana local government who spoke to our correspondent on the basis of anonymity also confirmed the death of 2 persons last week who lost their lives in a similar manner. This will be the 10th reported case of killings by suspected herdsmen in Keana.
He revealed that there haven’t been any security presence to deter the marauding herdsmen so far as the typical agrarian community continues to live in fear for their lives in the farms and homes. He however noted that this is the second incident that is occurring on the heels of the extension of Operation Cat Race in the North central region by the Nigerian Army.
There have been reports of well-meaning indigenes from Nassarawa state who have shouldered the humanitarian burden of sending relief packages to victims of this incessant killings from other parts of the country amidst the economic crunch.
“Everybody is just sending food home,” the source said. “People who care are giving what they can afford whether clothes, food, toiletries or even cash, all in a bid to prevent an imminent humanitarian crisis in Nassarawa,” he lamented.
We will recall that Engr. Mustapha Maihaji led NEMA have been emersed in a House of Representative ad hoc committee investigation of circumstances leading to the alleged mismanagement of N15 Billion Federal Government Intervention Fund for Provision of Relief Materials to disaster flood affected areas, abuse of public procurement process in the procurement of food items and alleged high-handedness which led to the suspension of 6 Directors of the agency.
It is worthy of note that the situation in the North Central region according to humanitarian observers and human rights group Inter-Society is said to have reached an alarming state, as Nassarawa state becomes the melting pot for millions of internally displaced persons from different parts of the region.
As at the time of filling this report the DPO in charge of Keana was yet to release the corpse to the bereaved community.
Reacting to this latest incident Barr. Emeka Umeagbalasi a criminal and security analyst with human rights watch group ‘InterSociety’ revealed to our investigative team that with this incident and previous killings of Christians in the state, it is safe to estimate that not less that 50 Christian lives have been lost in Nassarawa State since January 2018.
“In all our estimate statistics not less than 4000 mostly Christian lives have been lost to Suspected Herdsmen in Nigeria since June 2015 till date.”
For him, the killers appeared to be armed with communal maps and know their target areas and populations very well.
He also holds the view that dozens of deaths particularly Christian dominated communities and churches have been destroyed by the herdsmen in the state, but because the state government appears unconcerned and at best conspiratorial in their approach to these killings, much attention is not given to the ongoing killings in the state except through erratic independent media reports from local sources on ground.
He further referred to a combined report of the Open Doors Int’l, The Religion of Peace and the Jihad Watch of 18th February 2018.
The joint reports said that 15 Christian Villages and nine Churches were razed or burnt to ashes with dozens of Christians killed by these herdsmen in sustained violence and attacks against Christian communities in Nasarawa State which started since 15th January 2018 and have continued unabated.
We will recall that former Chief of Army Staff, General T. Y. Danjuma had recently accused the Nigerian Military of colluding with the killer herdsmen while he called on the people to defend themselves, but the Army in response have swiftly set up a committee to investigate claims of the former Defence Minister.
Similarly, the Presidency has disassociated itself from the controversy surrounding President Buhari’s Gaddafi comment made recently in the United Kingdom supposedly blaming the late Libyan dictator as responsible for the herdsmen killings across the country.