The immediate past President of the Senate, Senator David Mark has described as barbaric, wicked and inhuman the massive attacks and destruction of lives and properties in Agatu local government area of Benue State by armed men suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.
He said: “I’m shocked beyond words at the extent of destruction I have seen here in Agatu today. This is unbelievable. It is unimaginable. Nothing whatsoever justifies this brazen act of destruction meted out on the people of Agatu. My heart bleeds.”
Senator Mark, who was on assessment tour of the war ravaged communities along with some members of the National and state Assembly from his Benue South constituency, urged security operatives to do all that was needed to bring the perpetrators to book.
The Senator was of the view that the attacks could not have happened by accident, but a planned and orchestrated genocide against his people of Agatu.
About 10 communities have been raze down to the rubbles, while no fewer than 300 lives have been lost to the recent hostilities.
Some of the villages visited by Senator Mark and his team have been deserted and virtually turned into ghost towns.
The villages are totally bereft of any social or economic activities. All the primary and post primary schools, health centres , worship centres as well as the police station in the area have been burnt down.
What is left of a hitherto boisterous Agatu communities of Aila, Akwu, Adagbo, Okokolo, Ugboju, Odugbeho, Ogbaulu, Egba and Obagaji are the debris of the wreckage.
Mark, however, told the handful of survivors of the attacks to remain calm and law abiding no matter the level of provocation just as assured that the government would intervene to bring succour to them.
Senator Mark advised the people to take advantage of the proposed public hearing by the joint Senate committee on the crisis to bring the matter to public domain and seek redress.
Only last week Senator Mark through a community leader and former commissioner in Benue state Chief John Ngbede distributed relief materials to the survivors .
The former Senate President had counselled the handlers of the relief materials not to discriminate among political party faithful in the distribution of the relief materials, but to ensure that every one benefited, irrespective of party affiliation.
Items distributed included but not limited to mattresses, bags of rice, salt, indomie noodles, clothes as well as toiletries.
Senator Mark also visited one of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps located in Apa local government area, where he counselled the victims to remain calm as authorities would do the needful to ameliorate their situation.
Some of the survivors and community leaders, including Haruna Bawa from Odugbeho, Yakubu Ameh from Adagbo, Stephen Mathew from Aila and Aduba Abraham from Okokolo in their separate remarks alleged that the Fulani herdsmen invaded their communities shooting and killing every thing on sight.
They, therefore, pleaded with the state and federal governments to intervene and help rebuild the wrecked villages and rehabilitate the survivors.
They lamented that besides the dead, a handful of survivors had lost all means of livelihood, submitting that “life is now worthless here”.