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Herdsmen Attack: ‘They Nearly Killed My Pregnant Wife’



Blessing, the pregnant wife of Joseph Akaanger, is lying critically in pain at the Bishop Murray Medical Centre, Makurdi following an attack on her by the Fulani herdsmen. HEMBADOON ORSAR, visited her in the hospital.

Saturday, May 25 2018, was a black day for Blessing Ato, who was attacked by suspected Fulani Herdsmen while in the farm with her husband, Joseph Akaanger Ato, in Yogbo village, Guma Local Government area of Benue State.

The 25 year old pregnant woman on the fateful day was said to have gone to the farm with her husband, Joseph before the attack by suspected herdsmen.

Her husband who narrated the story said it would have been better if they had raped her and let her go. According to him, “Rather than raping her, they used their stick to insert into her body. They nearly killed my wife.”

Joseph, a farmer in his early 50s said he had gone to the farm that morning with his wife, “at about 12 noon when other farmers were returning home, I asked her to follow the villagers back home but she refused saying she wanted to follow me to our other farm,” he told his story with an air of resignation.

“I tried to prevail on her to go back home but she refused and even jokingly said what can Fulani do to her. We were on our way to my second farm when the herdsmen sighted us and started shooting at us.

“Initially, we both ran into hiding in a nearby bush but when the shooting became more intense and closer to us, Blessing, out of fear ran out of hiding and was running in another direction where unfortunately the Fulani herdsmen caught her.

“I also ran and they pursued me but couldn’t get me. When I couldn’t find my wife, I quickly ran to the Military post in the area to lodge a complaint and the soldiers immediately followed me to the farm.”

He said after searching the nearby bushes for some time, they heard a faint cry that led them to where his wife was lying in a pool of blood and in pain.

“I asked her what happened, she said the herdsmen pushed their rod (herder’s stick) into her private part, hit her with a stick on the back of her head and left her to die. The soldiers helped me pick her up and brought her to the hospital,” Joseph said.

He further said he had not been able to pay the N56,000 medical bill for his wife because he had been made a poor man as a result of the incessant herdsmen invasion of his village.

“We only escaped from my wife’s village in Yogbo a few weeks ago as a result of Fulani attacks to seek refuge in Hirnyan village in the same Guma Local Government area, only to face this,” Joseph lamented adding, now I don’t have the money for the bills. Agwai (Fulani) have rendered me penniless,” he wept. “I am now like a corpse. I used to farm very well and sell my farm produce but now I don’t have anything.”

Help however came the way of Joseph and his wife when the wife of the state governor, Mrs Eunice Ortom offered to take up her case and pay all her medical bills till she fully recovers.

Speaking with our correspondent at the Bishop Murray Medical Centre, Makurdi where the pregnant woman is currently struggling between life and death, her Aunt, Regina Kunda commended Mrs Ortom for her kind gesture.

Blessing’s story is just one of hundreds of Benue women who have fallen victims of rape by Fulani herdsmen in the state in recent times.

At the time of the visit to the hospital, Blessing was still in pain, and was unable to speak by herself.





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