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Shawon, who is also the Chairman of Association of Local Government Chairmen of Nigeria in Benue, explained that the forest stretched from Guma to Logo on the banks of River Benue covering over 57km.

He appealed for calm during the burial, and cautioned Benue residents against reprisal attacks against anyone.

He said: "A peace meeting was called, attended by the state government and security agencies of the nation, including the Inspector General of Police".

"As we all know the condition of the President's son, I urge Nigerians regardless of our socio-economic, political and ethnic differences to pray for the speedy recovery of Yusuf Buhari who is presently receiving medical attention".

"We are certain that Aso Rock merely ordered the IG of Police to relocate the police headquarters in Abuja to Benue to provide cover for these murderous Fulani herdsmen and help them consolidate their hold on new territories they are now occupying".

Governor Samuel Ortom told reporters after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari that the security situation had taken a different dimension with the killing of the policemen.

"Now the question is during that period, do we have a Fulani president?"

"You beat the iron while it's still hot, that's the blacksmith principle", said David Ogbole, a Pentecostal preacher in Makurdi who leads a civic coalition against herdsmen activities in Benue State.

The victims of the attack would be buried on Thursday and Governor Ortom has said there will be no going back on the anti-grazing law.

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Responding, the IGP said he had not received such letters of complaints from the governor but promised to investigate the claims and fish out the aggressors.

"I have been to that village myself", Mr. Makama said. The federal government has proposed establishing a grazing colony for the herdsmen to solve the crisis, but people in Benue have rejected the idea.

"And it is the practice in other parts of the world - on African soil in Swaziland, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, nearly all African countries that rear cattle; they ranch, so why can't we do the same thing here".

Mr. Idris also reiterated the commitment of the Nigeria Police Force to apprehend and prosecute perpetrators of the killings.

Authorities of the Benue State Police Command said the New Year's Day attacks began around 10 a.m.as Christians were at church worship services and lasted until 2 a.m. on January 2.

He said: "As you can see all the governors of the states where we have the most challenging security problem are here".

"We are conducting investigation into the killings and will take appropriate action against perpetrators of the heinous crime".

On Sunday, the police chief deployed, among other security measures, five MOPOL units.

He enjoined the people to give the police actionable intelligence that would lead to further arrest of the herdsmen.