Mark Laments Killing of Over 500 Agatu, Says It’s Genocide

Senator David Mark
Senator David Mark

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 is needed to bring the perpetrators to book.

He was of the view that the attacks could not have happened by accident but  suspected a planned and orchestrated  genocide against his people of Agatu.

About 10 communities have been raze down to the rubbles   while no fewer than 500 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 .

He  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.

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 between and among political party faithful  in the distribution of the relief materials  but ensure that every one benefits irrespective of party affiliation .

Items distributed included but not limited to mattresses, bags of rice, salt, indomie noodles, clothes as well as toiletries.

Mark also visited one of the Internally Displaced Persons ( IDP) 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 .

At the moment, they lamented that besides the dead, a handful of survivors have lost all means of lively hood submitting  that “life is now worth than worthless”.

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