DAVID MARK ESCAPES DEATH AS FULANI HERDSMEN SHOOT AT CONVOY
Former Senate President, David Mark, still smarting from victory at the rerun polls yesterday escaped death during a visit to Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State currently under siege by Fulani herdsmen where he went to ascertain the level of destruction caused by the recent attack by the herdsmen almost turned sour as his convoy was greeted with a hail of bullets.
Mark who was in company of the former minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, member House of Representatives Ohimini/Otukpo, Honourable Ezekiel Adaji, security aides, newsmen and party supporters were however unhurt as a rapid response from security men on the convoy warded off the attack in Akwu community.
The incident caused a huge commotion as the herdsmen were seen taking off with their herds while members of the convoy disembarked and headed in the other direction before the intervention. However, Senator Mark went through the eight communities affected including Aila, Akwu, Okokolo, Adagbo, Akwu, Ogboju and Odugbeho which are completely destroyed by Fulani herdsmen. Mark who regretted the level of carnage assured the people that he would ensure such situations did not occur again. He called on the people to go about their businesses peacefully, adding that the perpetrators of the act would be brought to book through legal means One of the youth leaders, Michael who spoke at Aila lamented the porous security in Agatu local government and angrily told the former senate president to tell the president to remove the soldiers as “we are competent now to defend ourselves”. Also the youths in all the communities accused the Benue State Governor, Chief Samuel Ortom and the Inspector General of Police Solomon Arase of not visiting the affected areas to see things for themselves adding that when the deputy governor, Mr. Benson Abounu visited, he only stopped at Apa where the displaced persons were camped. But Mark appealed to the youths to maintain peace and be law abiding as he promised to convey what he had seen to the government for prompt action Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase has said that the number of people said to have been killed during the recent clash between the Agatu’s of Benue State and their Fulani counterparts had been over exaggerated. In the clash the Agatus had claimed that 300 of their people including children and pregnant women were killed by the Fulani herdsmen. 7,000 others were said to have been displaced. The battle between the Fulanis and the Agatus was said to have started after 10,000 heads of cattle belonging to the Fulanis were reportedly killed. Addressing Stakeholders during a visit to Minna, the Niger state capital, the Mr. Arase said “I was around, I travelled to Makurdi, I did not see where 300 people were buried.” “If you kill, you don’t just bury; you must take the corpse to the Police station before you bury, we don’t have that number of people”. He however did not give the official casualty figure. Mr. Arase said the Police High command had completed arrangements to check the incidence of cattle rustling around the country, adding that the Police would next week start what he called ‘Metro patrol’ designed to arrest cattle rustlers. Under the programme motorized policemen would patrol the nook and crannies of the country purposely to fish out cattle rustlers and apprehend and prosecute them.