Herdsman Remanded for Murder in Benue: Farm Dispute Turns Fatal

by David Okoye

A 20-year-old herdsman named Isah Ardoo was recently charged with murder, criminal conspiracy, mischief, open grazing, and culpable homicide. He was placed under remand in Makurdi Prison custody. This is a recent incident in Benue. The remand order was issued by the Makurdi Chief Magistrates’ Court after Ardoo, who lives in Abinsi, Guma LGA, declined to enter a plea because of jurisdictional concerns.

Manasseh Dimur reported the case at the Makurdi ‘C’ Division Police Station on December 24, 2023, bringing it to light. On that day, Dimur said, five cow-raisers broke into his one-hectare rice farm in Yse-Ade Village, Mbayongu District, Makurdi, together with their cows. In addition to destroying and consuming crops worth N300,000, the cattle also started a violent fight.

Killer Herdsmen

The complainant alleged that the armed marauders, brandishing sophisticated weapons, fatally shot and stabbed his 25-year-old brother, Iorapuur. The subsequent police investigation led to the arrest of Isah Ardoo, with a recovered dagger as evidence. However, others involved in the incident are still at large.

The charges against Ardoo are presented by Godwin Ato, the prosecution’s attorney, under sections 97 and 222 of the Benue, 2004 penal code laws and 19(2)(1) of the Benue, 2017 legislation establishing ranches and prohibiting open grazing.

For additional proceedings, Chief Magistrate Kelvin Mbanongun postponed the case till March 28. The incident brings to light the growing tensions in the area caused by disputes between farmers and herders, and it has prompted judicial actions to deal with the fallout from these conflicts.

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