With over 400 of their people dead and basically no response of any sort from the Government, the people of Agatu, Benue state have threatened to defend themselves against the violence of rampaging Fulani herdsmen.
Over 400 people have been killed and properties destroyed in Agatu in March following a large scale attack of Fulani herdsmen armed with sophisticated weapons.
Speaking to pressmen in Abuja yesterday, Paul Edeh, the leader of One Idoma Initiative at a peace concert organised to raise funds for displaced Agatu people, the people of the community will not wait for the government to protect them even as they have began to raise funds to rebuild their community.
He said, “It is no longer breaking news that Fulani herdsmen attacked our people and over 2,000 houses were destroyed. We have gathered here today to advocate for peace for our people and also raise funds for the rebuilding of Agatu.
“We are talking about peace in Idoma Land and Agatu is an Idoma community. We are saying enough is enough of these attacks on the Idoma people; we want the government to know that if you are pushed to the wall, there is this resistant spirit within every man. If the government cannot come to our aid, we might not have the luxury to wait. The government should do the needful so that our people are not forced to defend themselves.
“If we are forced to defend ourselves, it might lead to the proliferation of firearms, which is what we don’t want. And if it gets to that, government will even spend more to disarm citizens. So we are saying let there be peace and the government has a role to play in ensuring this.”
Edeh also noted that since an accord which chased the Fulani herdsmen away from the community was signed, there has been peace.
“A communique was issued and the first two items urged the Fulani herdsmen to carry their people and leave Agatu and they truly left.
“Within three days after that communiqué was signed, the herders left Agatu and till date, I can confirm to you that though we have some Fulanis coming in at times, they have left the community in the last two or three months the communiqué was signed.”