Posted by News Express | 14 February 2018 | 2,542 times
Fulani herdsmen in Benue and Nasarawa states are asking for more time to move to grazing reserves – with support from the Federal Government.
This appears to be a request by the herders to be granted temporary respite from the Benue State anti-open grazing law.
The herdsmen killed more than 73 people, mostly women and children, in Ayilamo, Gaambe-Tiev, in Logo Local Government Area and Tom-atar, Saghav Ward of Guma Local Government Area on New Year day.
The herders told the Federal Government subcommittee on reconciliation in the zone led by David Umahi, the Ebonyi State governor, that they were willing to obey the laws of their states of residence but were waiting for a Federal Government-assisted solution to their grazing dilemma.
Umahi told journalists at the Benue Peoples’ House, Makurdi, on Tuesday, that it had been agreed that undocumented herdsmen from foreign countries must henceforth get papers before they would be allowed into the country.
On the controversial Fulani claims to the Benue valley by right of conquest, Governor Umahi said the issue was never brought up by the herders during the meetings the sub-committee had with them, so it should be discarded.
The sub-committee also is working towards the dissolution of all militias as one of the planks of peace-building in the affected states.
“All parties are committed to a ceasefire,” Umahi said, and added that “we will disarm militia and support security chiefs to ensure that the disarming process was successful.”
The subcommittee was set up by the Office of Vice President Yemi Osibanjo to visit states affected by the crisis.
It is expected to find ways of ending the clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Benue and other states in the zone.
Umahi ruled out the option of seeking cancellation of the anti-open grazing law as some people have suggested.
He said the subcommittee gathered that the Benue people were “passionate about their law”, and that the law was beyond the state governor, Samuel Ortom.
He also said it was agreed that Benue had the right to make its laws and that anyone that was staying on Benue soil must obey the laws of the land.
Umahi said all stakeholders also agreed that where a law did not favour anyone they should dialogue with the state to find a workable solution.
The governor pointed out that stakeholders agreed that the Federal Government “must see animal husbandry as an economic venture”.
They have, therefore, called for incentives for the herdsmen, similar to the anchor programme for farmers and other programmes for other players in the economy.
He said during the meetings that were held, it was also agreed that in states where there was no land for grazing, they should ranch.
The governor disclosed that there were over 117,771 children, men, and women in seven of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Benue.
He said 80 percent of the IDPs were children ages seven and eight, and noted that they were “living in very deplorable conditions.”
Umahi said the subcommittee found out that out of the over 20,000 IDPs in Nasarawa, 20,000 of them were from the Tiv extraction whose homes were either burnt down by herdsmen or who had left their homes out of fear of being attacked.
Lamenting the plight of the IDPs, Umahi called on the Federal Government to dispatch the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to Benue to evaluate the situation at the camps and see how they could immediately come to the aid of the displaced persons.
Umahi said the next meeting would be on a representative level.
•Excerpted from an INDEPENDENT report.
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