Opinion: Why The Fire For Fire Declaration Against Herdsmen By Benue Governor May Cost More Lives


The recent declaration of fire for fire on herdsmen by the Benue state Governor, Samuel Ortom may have come to many as a cheering news, but this could lead to more fracas in the state if not properly managed. It can be recalled that Governor Ortom who appeared live on AIT in Benue, charged the people to defend themselves against herdsmen attack, using any legal weapon at their disposal. This is arguably due to the incessant attacks on farmers and villagers in the state, which have left many people dead, with farms and houses destroyed.

The Governor who is the chief security officer of the state have on several occasions, called on the federal government to tackle the issues of herdsmen attacks across the country and Benue in particular, with no positive result from the calls. Just recently, it was equally reported that the presidency alleged that Governor Ortom should adopt RUGA policy if he wants peace in Benue, leaving the fate of the people in the hands of herdsmen who have been killing and maiming them at will.

Following the failure of the federal government to swing into action and protect the Benue people from herdsmen attack, the Governor resorted to declaring that his people should defend themselves with any legal weapon within their disposal. Although this declaration has been received by the people with joy, it is my belief that the fire for fire approach may cost more lives in the state instead of curbing the menace of herdsmen attacks.

It is true that being armed would provide security for the people particularly, the farmers who are often attacked and killed in their farms, but this can easily be misused by the people, leading to more loss of lives in the state. Again, it is no longer news that most of these herdsmen attacks occur late at nights when the people must have retired to bed. Therefore, daylight confrontations may as well lead to reprisal attacks at night by the herdsmen. The implications of this is that the people may have slept and become prone to attack. As a result, the Governor should consider order safety measure to provide cover for the people particularly at nights.

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