Alia Nowhere to be be seen as security collapses in Benue

Governor Hyacinth Alia of Benue State

Alia Nowhere to be be seen as security collapses in Benue

…Governor Incapable of Safeguarding the State

On Wednesday the 3rd of July, 2024, the people of Ukum local government area of Benue State took to the streets of Zaki Biam protesting the killing of their loved ones by bandits and invaders. The protesters demanded to hear from Governor Hyacinth Alia whom they accused of abandoning them to be killed in their homes like animals. The protests soon turned violent and a number of property were destroyed.

However, Governor Alia was not moved by the demands of the Ukum protesters and it took his government several hours to make a pronouncement on the ongoing violence in the area.

Amnesty International recently reported that in the last one (under Alia’s leadership) over 2,600 have been killed and more than 50 communities in Benue State have suffered a total of 135 attacks. The report further said that 18 out of the 23 local government areas of the state have been adversely affected by the ongoing insecurity.

Within Governor Alia’s first year in office, Fulani herdsmen have taken over many parts of Benue State and are in firm control. The herdsmen decide who goes where. The Fulani have appointed some of their members as leaders of the occupied communities. The indigenous villagers have to pay the armed herders money to allow them to go to their farms, and the villagers are under an unwritten oath never to complain if their farms are destroyed by Fulani cattle.
Whenever someone dies, the Fulani demand payment before allowing the bereaved family to bury their dead. That is the grim and devastating situation that Alia’s tenure has forced upon Benue people.

Shockingly, Governor Alia constantly says there is relative peace in the state. He does not want the rest of the country to know that Benue is under siege and 18 out of the 23 local government areas of the state are under Fulani herders’ attacks. He has shown nonchalance towards the safety of the people.

Wednesday’s sad happening in Ukum further exposed Governor Alia’s disturbing display of callous negligence and incompetence. The protests and violence in Zaki Biam and neighbouring communities were a stark reminder of the Governor’s abject failure to address the escalating security crisis plaguing his state. The people of Ukum took to the streets to decry the senseless killings of their loved ones by bandits and invaders, only to be met with silence and indifference from their supposed leader.

The State Government belatedly issued a statement announcing a curfew in the area but Governor Alia did not even bother to preside over the State Security Council meeting. He once again asked his Deputy Samuel Ode to preside over the meeting. Alia is always unavailable when the State Security Council meets. He doesn’t want to be heard making any definite pronouncements or condemning the Fulani attacks on Benue people. When his government issued a 14-day ultimatum to Fulani pastoralists to leave the state with their cattle, it was still the Deputy that presided over the meeting. But even that decision was not enforced as more cattle invaded the state and more attacks were reported.


This has fueled the growing suspicion that Governor Alia is doing the bidding of those who bankrolled his governorship campaign and he would not want to infuriate them.

A statement issued by Aloysius Gbakaan President,
ALLIANCE FOR TRUTH AND JUSTICE, indicated thay Alia’s absence during these critical moments when his people need their governor to lead from the front speaks volumes about his priorities and commitment to the welfare and safety of the people he swore to protect. He has abandoned the people to fend for themselves in the face of grave danger and uncertainty.

The Governor’s first year in office has been marred by a series of security lapses and failures, with innocent Benue people bearing the brunt of his administration’s incompetence. The pervasive attacks on communities by armed herders have become a tragic routine under Governor Alia’s watch, highlighting his inability to safeguard the lives and property of his constituents. The tragic events in Ukum are yet another damning indictment of his leadership, revealing a pattern of neglect and betrayal that has defined his one year in office.

The people of Benue State deserve better – they deserve a leader who will prioritize their security and well-being above all else. It is time for Governor Alia to acknowledge his failures, take responsibility for the consequences of his inaction, and urgently address the security challenges facing the state before more lives are needlessly lost.