Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Fulani socio-cultural organisation, the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, has said they were never consulted or their opinions included in the Anti-Open Grazing law that became operational in Benue State since November 1st, 2017.
That, according to observers, might be the justification for the recent attacks by suspected Fulani herdsmen on local communities in three local governments in Benue State, an allegations which the spokesman of the organisation, Alhaji Yusuf Ardo, denied.
But, the Secretary General of the organisation, Engr. Saleh Alhassan, who appeared on Channels TV morning programme, Sunrise Daily, insisted that the Fulani were not responsible for the attacks that led to the death of over 70 people in the state.
Spokesman for the organisation, Alhaji Yusuf Ardo, in a statement, few days ago, indicated that the killings were carried out by “irresponsible elements” and not Fulani herdsmen as being projected in the media.
According to Alhassan, “We are peace loving people and that informed our choice of court of law to seek justice and pronouncement that will halt the implementation of anti-open grazing law in the state.
“While the litigation was ongoing, we wrote and called the attention of all state and non state actors, to prevail on the governor to stop the implementation of the law, but nothing happened.”
Alhassan said it was unfortunate that some people pretending to be Fulani have misled the Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom, with fake promise to secure the support of Fulani pastoralists for the anti-open grazing law which, obviously, is in total violation of their culture.
He continued, “For instance, the governor kept mentioning Garus Gololo. He belongs to Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeder Association, which is an organization that is open to all that rare cattle and not Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore which is the socio-cultural organization of the Fulani people.
“We equally have it in good authority that the cattle breeders collected N6 million from the governor and assured him of the full support and collaboration of the Fulani people to the success of the law.”
He, however, suggested a strategic national policy that would address herdsmen related issues. “It is unfair that government at all levels tried as much they could to subsidized agriculture and they forgot that cattle rearing is part of agriculture.”
He also suggested a composition of judicial panel of inquiry that would consist of credible, apolitical and impartial members who would thoroughly investigate and unravel the people behind the “senseless” killings.