Ethnic groups fault Fulani’s ownership claim of Benue valley
• Nasarawa CP gives 30-day ultimatum to submit firearms or risk arrest
Three socio-cultural groups from Tiv, Idoma and Igede in Benue State, yesterday dismissed the alleged ownership claim of Benue valley by Fulani herdsmen.This followed the statement credited to the National President of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN), Bello and the Secretary, Saleh Alhassan that they would take over the valley, which he described as their ancestral land.
The groups, Mdzough U Tiv, (MUT), the Idoma National Forum (INF) and the Omi Ny’Igede spoke at a joint news briefing in Makurdi, the state capital.Led by the President General of Mdzough U Tiv, Edward Ujege, they urged the National Assembly to intervene to prevent the “impending genocide.”
While describing the herdsmen’s claim as a fabricated story that must be resisted, they said it was a ploy to launch another jihad on the Benue people.The groups threatened to take the MACBAN leadership to court if the Federal Government fails to arrest them.
They warned that: “Further destruction of lives and property in Benue by the Fulani herdsmen would be blamed on the Federal Government for not living up to its constitutional responsibility.”
According to them, the claim by the herdsmen that they were the original inhabitants of the valley is absolutely ridiculous, preposterous and a complete falsehood.
“There is no historical, archaeological or anthropological evidence to indicate that the Fulanis ever inhabited the Benue valley at any time before the advent of the Tiv people or any of the other ethnic groups in the state.
“The arrival of the Fulani herdsmen in the valley was a post-independence phenomenon occasioned by the climate change-driven desert encroachment and the drying up of the waters of the Lake Chad,” they said.
The groups condemned the MACBAN objection to the Anti Open Grazing Law signed by Governor Samuel Ortom, describing it as the best solution to resolving the perennial problem between the herdsmen and farmers.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police in Nasarawa State, Mr. Sediq Bello has given 30 days ultimatum to owners of firearms to submit them to security agents or be arrested.
He gave the warning yesterday at a press briefing at the command headquarters in Lafia, adding that the decision was taken after due consultation with Governor Umaru Tanko Almakura.While parading some robbery and kidnap suspects, he urged anyone with vital information about persons with firearms to call 08112692680 and 08123821517.