Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Fulani Herdsmen Give Conditions For Peace In Benue

The umbrella body of cattle breeders in the country, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, has given condition for peace to reign in Benue State. This is as its says, that, the state's anti open grazing law, aimed at regulating cow grazing in the state, must be reviewed.

The Secretary General of the association, Usman Ngelzerma, told Punch on Monday. Ngelzerma said, "I like the Benue State governor. He is a peace loving person but is working on wrong advice. The approach he took is wrong. You cannot change the way of life of a people like the way you turn off a light switch.

"We don't wish for the crisis to continue but let us give the law another look. We don't like the killings; we will never condone the killing of people. Give the farmers their rights but consider the pastoralists too”he blamed a faction of the association for issuing threats before the latest attacks in Benue State.

He fingered the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, which endorsed the then President Goodluck Jonathan in the build up to the 2015 election, as being at loggerheads with the Benue State Government. The secretary general alleged that the livestock guards, employed by the state government to enforce the anti - open grazing law, were high handed and were extorting money from the pastoralists.

Ngelzerma claimed that the fighting between the herdsmen and the livestock guards led to the January 1 killings in five communities in the Guma and Logo Local Government Areas of the state in which over 20 persons were murdered. He said, "The livestock guards have constituted themselves to the police and the court at the same time. They impose penalties on herdsmen, fine them huge sums of money before releasing them. That was the situation before this crisis erupted.

"I was told that shortly before this crisis, the guards went to make some arrests in a particular community and they met stiff resistance from the Fulani because they were already tired of the persistent harassment from the guards, not the police or the DSS, army or constituted authority. "This was what led to the violence and unnecessary deaths that followed which we do not condone".


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