Benue North-West senator Orker Jev has raised alarm over worsening food scarcity in the state, blaming the shortages on anti-farmer attacks.
“The consequence of these attacks and displacement of the farming populace is that the people will be going hungry and will not be able to feed themselves let alone feed other people in the country who get food supplies from Benue state,” Jev told Vanguard.
“And we know that it is these foodstuffs they sell that help them raise money to pay children’s school fees and also take care of family needs. But we are now in a situation that these farmers are begging for survival.
“It goes without saying that not just Benue but Nigeria is in trouble. Ordinarily in normal times if you go to Kano, Benin, Lagos, or other big cities you find Benue farm produce, yam, soya bean, corn, millet, tomatoes, pepper, and other foodstuffs.
“But what you have now is a large population of the people displaced from their ancestral homes and farmland by armed herdsmen and are now staying in IDP camps and living on charity.
“So you don’t need any person to tell you that we are in big trouble. It’s happening already; that’s why food insecurity will lead to general insecurity in the land because they are interconnected.
“You know what a hungry person can do. He can go to any extent to feed himself and his family. So we shouldn’t take this as disconnected acts. The trajectory is there for us to see, if you have food insecurity it is going to heighten the already bad security situation that we have in the land.”
“Fortunately, Benue has in place an anti-open grazing law that would have effectively checked the activities of these marauders. But again if you have the federal police with a responsibility of enforcing all the laws in the land, it doesn’t have to be only the federal laws, it has to be state laws too.
“But when you have the federal authorizes who are not keen about the law, it doesn’t surprise me that the level of enforcement of that law is lackluster. Even though from information available to me, we have recorded successes with the law but not the way one would have expected, especially around the border communities.
“A lot of these people are going around in the bushes with their cattle armed with AK47 riffles in the local governments like Guma, Agatu, Buruku, Gwer West, Makurdi, Kwande, Logo and several other local government areas in the state killing and sacking the people from their homes.
“And you have security people that are not ready to confront them.”