* Says Benue grazing law uncalled for
* Cattle colonies not for Fulani ‘colonisation’ –FG
Nasarawa State Governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura has said the anti-open grazing law implemented in Benue State is unnecessary and uncalled for.
The governor stated this yesterday in Lafia, yesterday, during a meeting with the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, and stakeholders in the state.
“I’m deeply shocked by my colleague (Governor Samuel Ortom) accusing me of camping militia in the state, those were very unfair comments, coming from a state governor. But, the onus of proof lies on the person who alleged. I want the IGP to look into the issue
“As the chief security officer of the state, I will give you all the support to unravel this allegation, I have never received any report as governor, of any camp or destination like this; this is bad stigma, it can spark up crisis. The Tiv people are bonafide citizens of Nasarawa state, they have equal rights and privileges, I will protect them until such a time the crisis subsists. Ninety-five percent of the IDPs we have in Awe are Tiv people,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has said establishment of colonies in states will not transfer communal land ownership to Fulani herdsmen wherever it is established.
The federal government explained, yesterday, through the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, that it dumped ranching plans and opted for cattle colonies because they are strategic measures to curb incessant bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the country.
Ogbeh told newsmen, on Wednesday, after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, in Abuja, that cattle colonies would set up, to curb incessant clashes.
The minister explained government’s policy in separate meetings with governors of Plateau and Kogi states, Simon Lalong and Yahaya Bello, respectively, in Abuja, yesterday.
He said there is no truth in insinuations that government is conspiring to grant supremacy over communal land to Fulani herdsmen.
“Cattle colony is not using Fulani herdsmen to colonise any state. It is going to be done in partnership with state governments that would like to volunteer land for it. The federal government will fund the project and those wishing to benefit from it will pay some fees,” he stated.
He said while cattle ranching is more of an individual venture, for herdsmen and those wishing to invest in the livestock sector, cattle colonies are larger projects where up to 40 ranchers can share same facility that will be provided by the government; at reduced rate.
He further disclosed that 16 state governments have, so far, provided hectares of land for the project, and also, sought the support of states in the area of Extension Officers who would be “recruited within the locality so that they can be in contact with rural farmers.”
In a related development,, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has commiserated with the government and people of Benue state on the mass burial of victims of suspected herdsmen attacks on New Year day.
“My heartfelt condolences go to the government and people of Benue State as the victims of suspected herdsmen attacks are committed to mother earth. This is a black Thursday (yesterday), not only for the people of Benue state, but for the entire nation and will remain a sorrowful mark in our history.
“I join fellow Nigerians to pray for the peaceful repose of the souls of the victims and also, pray God to comfort those who lost their loved ones, let me add that we must avert such future occurrences by urgently rethinking our security system.”