Benue state is comprised of 23 LGAs and its capital is Makurdi city. The state’s estimated population was 5 741 815 in 2016.
After 2016, Benue state was experiencing high levels of violence, with herders attacking many villages and destroying crops and with farmers and militias in some areas killing herders and stealing cattle. The nature of the conflict evolved from more spontaneous to organized attacks, mainly affecting Benue, Plateau and Nasarawa states. In addition, Benue state experiences clashes between ethnic groups over land ownership. Other actors in Benue state include communal militias, ethnic and community groups, and the Nigerian military forces. The Nigerian armed forces have conducted military operations to address insecurity associated with herders-farmers violence.
Since January 2020, there was an alarming escalation in (reprisal) attacks and abductions in different states in North-West and North-Central Nigeria. Benue was one of the three states that were the most affected by an increase in herdsmen-farmers clashes in 2020. Violent clashes between herders and farmers and between local communities resulted in casualties and led residents to flee. A clash between Nigerian troops and armed herders has been also reported. Allegations that the military has attacked and killed over 50 civilians in local communities have been denied by the military headquarters.
During 2020, ACLED reported a total of 100 security incidents (42 battles, 52 cases of violence against civilians, 6 incidents of riots) in Benue state (average of 1.9 security incidents per week). Security incidents took place in 16 out of 23 LGAs, with the largest overall number (21) being recorded in the LGA of Guma.
The abovementioned security incidents resulted in 190 deaths. Compared to the estimated population in the state, this represents approximately 3 fatalities per 100 000 inhabitants.
From 1 January to 30 April 2021, ACLED reported a total of 38 security incidents (12 battles, 22 cases of violence against civilians, 4 incidents of riots) in Benue state (average of 2.2 security incidents per week). These security incidents resulted in 177 deaths.
The total number of IDPs for Benue state by December 2020 was 204 193, an increase of 3 % compared to data collected in July 2020. Benue hosts the largest IDP population in the North-West and North-Central regions. No specific data were found for Benue state with regard to the number of returnees.
Looking at the indicators, it can be concluded that indiscriminate violence is taking place in the state of Benue, however not at a high level. Accordingly, a higher level of individual elements is required in order to show substantial grounds for believing that a civilian, returned to the territory, would face a real risk of serious harm within the meaning of Article 15(c) QD.