The House of Representatives has asked the Federal Government to set up a joint military-police task force to confront “rampaging” herdsmen, who are killing and maiming victims in various parts of the country.
In Etsako Federal Constituency of Edo State and particularly in Auchi-Warake; Fugar-Ekperi and Okpella-Uluoke committees, the House said the herdsmen terrorising inhabitants were “suspected Boko Haram” insurgents, who must be tamed urgently.
The House specifically named Benue State, among other states in the federation it said needed government intervention to rehabilitate destroyed villages and prevent more people from being massacred by the herdsmen.
The House passed two separate resolutions on the menace of herdsmen on Wednesday alone, to underscore the seriousness of the threats their activities posed to national security.
The resolutions came just 24 hours after the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, chaired a four-hour closed-door meeting of members with service chiefs on rising cases of kidnapping in the country.
On Wednesday, a member of the All Progressives Congress from Benue State, Mr. Teseer Mark-Gbillah, moved a motion on the “Need for Intervention in the Incessant Killing, Destruction of Property and Displacement of Communities by Rampaging Herdsmen.”
The motion, which highlighted the plight of victims in “Benue and other states,” called for support for affected communities.
Mark-Gbillah recalled that herdsmen had killed at least 5,000 Nigerians between 2015 and 2017, making them the fourth most dangerous killer group after “Boko Haram, ISIS and Al-Qaeda.”
In passing the resolution, the lawmakers appealed for urgent support for victims of herdsmen from the government and international donor agencies.
The resolution was passed in a unanimous voice vote.
The second motion on “Need to Arrest and Prosecute Suspected Boko Haram Members Parading as Herdsmen in Etsako Federal Constituency,” was moved by Mr. Johnson Egwakhide-Oghuma.
He lamented that many communities in the constituency were under siege by the herdsmen, who killed villagers and invaded farms and homes at will.
In passing a resolution on the motion, the House directed the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, to set up a joint task force to combat the herdsmen.
It also asked the Department of State Services to step up intelligence operations in a bid to “prevent the scoundrels from further inflicting harm on the people.”