Benue: Tribal leaders vow to resist planned Fulani colony over FG’s 1,000 houses

by John Ojewale
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Tribal chiefs and socio-cultural group leaders in Benue State have promised to oppose any efforts by the federal government to construct homes and villages for Fulani herders in any location in the state under any pretext.

The leaders emphasised that the Federal Government’s recent rushed declaration of its plan to construct 1,000 housing units in seven states, including Benue, reeked of mischief and would not be welcomed in the state.

In a statement released over the weekend and signed by the leaders of Mzough U Tiv, MUT, (Worldwide) Iorbee Ihagh and Ochetoha k’Idoma, OKI, AVM Toni Adokwu(retd), the leaders insisted that no area of the state would be ceded for the building of homes and colonies to house Fulani herders while more than two million Benue natives who were displaced by armed herders still

The leaders requested the Federal Government to halt the project, which they claimed was a part of a larger strategy to alleviate tensions in the country’s north and would include infrastructure for the Fulani population including schools, clinics, veterinarians, and ranches.

According to the statement:

“One would have thought that the construction of such a facility in Benue State will go through a process that would have the inputs of all stakeholders, particularly, the State Government, but the hasty manner with which the project was planned and subsequently approved, smacks of mischief.

“The signal we are getting is that the idea may have been conceived, hatched, packaged and handed over to the present administration for implementation; or how would one explain the hasty manner in which the project scaled through all the hurdles and even billed for implementation, without the State Government getting a whiff of the idea from its conception?

“But, be that as it may, one would have expected that the Federal Government should have settled the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in the State before thinking of bringing in outsiders, nay, foreigners and creating a haven for them within the state.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Benue State has over two million IDPs that have been neglected by the government to perish in various IDP camps across the State.

“The first thing one would have expected was for the Federal Government to work towards ensuring that displaced persons that have been abandoned in IDP camps across the state are returned to their ancestral homes, before contemplating the construction of houses for their antagonists, the Fulani armed herdsmen.

“The ethnic groups in the state have resolved to file behind the State Governor, Hyacinth Alia, not to cede any portion of the State to anyone; not even the Federal Government for the purpose of building settlements for our oppressors.

“Plans to ensure that colonies must be constructed in Benue State has become a recurring decimal, and we view the insistence of the Federal Government to establish Colonies in the State, under whatever name is an agenda that must be resisted by the Benue people, with the support of all.

“Without mincing words, we want to tell President Bola Tinubu that he should call off the project, direct the relevant agencies of government to without delay commence a resettlement and rehabilitation process for IDPs in the state to return to their ancestral homes and further ensure that the IDPs are assisted to live normal lives before contemplating to embark on such a project.”

The leaders pleaded with President Tinubu to intervene on the crises in Moon Council Ward of Kwande LGA, where residents had been sacked and their homes had been taken over by armed herdsmen.

They urged the Federal Government to act immediately in the case and to accept the Benue State ranching law in order to ensure peaceful coexistence in the state between farmers and herdsmen.





cc: Vanguard Ng

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