Protesters Besiege National Assembly Over Killings In Benue

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SAN FRANCISCO, March 02, (THEWILL) – A coalition of civil society groups from Benue state besieged the national assembly complex on Wednesday in protest of killings which occurred in Agatu, a local government area, in the state.

Addressing a group of lawmakers led by Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Na' Allah, the coordinator of the protest, Paul Ede, alleged that the killings in Agatu was spearheaded by suspected herdsmen and had continued for weeks.

He added that about 400 people have been killed by the assailants which has led to a humanitarian crisis in the area, leaving another 5,000 people homeless.

Ede, on behalf of the group, demanded that the federal government set up a commission of inquiry to look into cause of the crisis as he asked for an immediate deployment of soldiers and policemen to Agatu to maintain law and order.

He pleaded that relief materials be sent to the internally-displaced persons in the town, while peace should be immediately restored to the area.

In his response, Na' Allah assured the protesters that the senate would examine their demands.

“As far as the senate is concerned, an injury to one Idoma man is an injury to all,” he said.

“We are with you 100 percent in the protest. We will take these demands back to senate and decision will be taken on them.”

Other senators who were present to receive the protesters were Stella Oduah, Dino Melaye and Binta Garba.

The protesters marched to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the ministry of justice where they demanded that the government urgently intervene in the crisis.

THEWILL recalls that President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered a probe into the killings as he condemned the act.

Story by David Oputah