Not less than six people, including two teachers of the Makurdi Local Government Education Authority, have been sent to their early grave by gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.
The killings took place near Ikpayongo, Gwer Local Government Area of Benue State, where the victims were among 10 persons who had reportedly gone to their farm for rice cultivation under the umbrella of a cooperative society.
The names of the two teachers killed were given my a native of the community as Mr. Stephen Tavaku, head teacher at St. Mary’s Primary School, North Bank, Makurdi, and Mr. Christian Anankpa, a PhD student of ABU, Zaria, who was the Basic Science teacher, St. Mary’s UBE Junior Secondary School, North Bank, Makurdi.
Four other teachers, it was learnt, escaped with wounds, while six other persons were killed and their bodies dismembered by the herdsmen.
It is understood that the remains of the deceased were found on Thursday with the help of some security operatives.
Mr. Emerald Anyaogu, a close associate of Tavaku, while confirming the incident to journalists, said “I never knew that my meeting with Mr. Tavaku in his office that day was going to be the last.
“I went to see him with some journalists about an issue in the school. He looked so excited that day and attended to them well. He was such a nice man.”
A colleague of Anankpa said, “Ten people, four of whom were teachers, formed the cooperative and went to assess the farmland when the herdsmen pounced on them.
“Four people were able to escape, but on Thursday, we discovered the bodies of the victims. Two of them were teachers.”
Meanwhile, the representative of the Pope in Nigeria will lead about 50 Catholic bishops to the mass burial on Tuesday for the two priests and parishioners, who were killed by herdsmen at Mbalon community in the Gwer East Local Government Area of the state.
Recall that the priests, Rev. Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha, were killed on the altar during a mass along with 17 parishioners.
The Director of Communications, Catholic Diocese of Makurdi, Rev. Father Moses Iorapuu, disclosed this in Makurdi on Saturday.
Iorapuu said, “The local church here (Benue) was under attack as the bishops were in a conference in Rome; so the Pope got primary information.
“It was there the decision was taken with the local church and they fixed the burial for May 22. All the bishops agreed, the divine coincidence of this is that it was May 22, 2017 that the anti-open grazing bill was passed by the state assembly.
“Exactly after one year, this is what we have to show; the priests and many others who were killed. The bishops will be here in their numbers but what they have done is to be sure that the burial has wider coverage and wider participation.”
The Government of President Muhammadu Buhari has not been able to stop the killings in Benue, Kaduna, Taraba and across the country, despite assurances.