The Benue State Police on Friday arraigned six Fulani herdsmen allegedly involved in the killing of 19 farmers in Akor village of Guma Local Government Area of Benue State, even as President Muhammadu Buhari met with the Inspector General of Police over the mayhem and other killings in the country.
The suspects were arraigned at a Chief Magistrate Court 1 sitting in Makurdi the state capital, before the Chief Magistrate, Isaac Ajim.
The incident which occurred on January 2, 2018, had a pregnant woman killed and five others in a fresh attack in the state. The death toll later increased to 20, the governor of the state, Samuel Ortom confirmed the number of casualties shortly after the state Security Council meeting was held.
After visiting those receiving treatment from gunshot injuries at the Benue State University Teaching Hospital, it was confirmed that the hospital had received 11 bodies and nine injured victims out of which three died while being treated.
In a similar development, another Fulani herdsman who allegedly violated the Open Grazing Prohibition Law was also arraigned before the same magistrate. Meanwhile, his accomplice Hassam Musa fled the scene.
The police arrested the suspect, Ibrahim Adamu, on December 28, 2017, while grazing openly with about 70 cows along Naka road in Makurdi.
According to First Information Report, FIR six (6) of the Fulani herdsmen were accused of killing over 16 persons and injuring several others as well as destroying houses, crops and burning down many houses that are yet to be valued in monetary terms.
“On 2nd January, 2017 at about 05.00 hours, one Mganda came to police station in Garibaldi, Guma Local government area and reported that on the same day, a group of herdsmen who were rearing their cows in Akor village, attacked the area shooting sporadically and in the process killed over 16 persons”, the FIR stated.
When the case was mentioned, no plea was taken for want of jurisdiction, just the prosecution counsel ASP Edward Imoh asked for adjournment to another date for further investigation to be carried out.
Counsel to the defendants, Al Mustapha Elegu did not oppose the application. Ajim who told the accused that the offense committed by them was grievous, ordered that they be remanded at the Federal Medium Prisons and adjourned the case to 5th March, 2018 For Hearing mention.
Reacting shortly after the court proceeding, counsel to the accused, Barr. Almustapha Elegu said he did not raise any objection to the proceeding because there was no basis for it at the moment noting that at the appropriate time, the case would be moved to the High Court.
President Muhammadu Buhari, as part of efforts to finding a lasting solution to the menace met with the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Ibrahim Idris, amid rising tensions following the recent killings in the State and other parts of the country.
The President held the discussion with the police boss on Friday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting, Mr Idris maintained that the Nigeria Police is working hard to address the issues.
He also attributed the crises to communal misunderstanding in the affected communities and called on Nigerians to learn to live in peace with one another.
05 January, 2018