Land Conflict among the Benue Nasarawa People

Land Conflict among the Benue Nasarawa People by Liberty Oseni

The conflicts that have occurred among the Tiv people and the Fulani Herdsmen of Nasarawa State and Benue state respectively over the struggle of ownership and access to Land in communities found among the border areas of these two states starting from 2001 to date is the one that has caused lots of pogrom and immolate on the inhabitants of these areas.

Fighting on the border communities of Benue and Nasarawa states emerged as disputes between Fulani /Tiv as regards border demarcating the land. The crisis claimed many lives, destroyed farmlands and properties and rendered thousands homeless in the latest attack, with scores of natives displaced. Fulani herdsmen in a renewed attack on Tiv communities in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State led to this. The crisis, which took a dangerous dimension, crept into Makurdi town with scores of refugees fleeing the crises area into the town.

The areas hardest hit by the renewed attack included Tiv settlements at Dooga, Kpata, Lokobi Ajimaka, Ekeae, Giza, Yogbo and Mbagwem communities. Many of the Tiv people were in the farms when the crisis erupted and that led to killing of many Tive Farmers. The Fulani herdsmen who were assisted by the Alagos residing on the border of Benue and Nasarawa States in Doma town laid siege on their villages, shooting and burning their houses and property. The destruction of the Tiv farmland by Fulani herdsmen during grazing also triggers this conflict the more.

On the latest and the most recent attack which took place few weeks ago, more than 79 persons were killed as a clash between nomadic Fulani herdsmen and Tiv farmers in border communities in Benue and Nasarawa states over the claim for land ownership and access to land. Properties worth millions of naira were lost in the clash, with over 2000 displaced persons. The clash was sparked by Fulani herdsmen on revenge mission over what they called unsettled grievances in previous attacks. The Fulani herdsmen launched early morning attack on Dooga, Kpata, Lokobi, Ajimaka, Ekeae, Giza, Yogbo and Mbgawem border communities in Benue State, and thus, caught residents unawares. Consequently, many residents of the Tiv communities who tried to escape from the violence were caught in the ambush laid by the Fulani herdsmen.