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Southern, Middle Belt groups meet in Enugu, reject cattle colonies

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•Stakeholders accuse S’West monarchs of collusion
A meeting of the Southern Nigeria Forum (SNF) and representatives of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) ended in Enugu yesterday with a resolution rejecting the creation of cattle colonies in states making up the regions.

In a statement by the Administrator of SNF, Rev. Okechukwu Obioha and his Middle Belt counterpart, Rev. James Pam, they insisted on enforcement of private ranching for all animal keepers in the country to check the rising killings by herdsmen.

The groups sympathised with the government and people of Benue State over the recent massacre of over 70 persons by suspected herdsmen, stressing that unraveling the mystery behind the incident would assuage those affected by it.

Stressing that the country has been made unsafe by the activities of the nomads, they called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the immediate arrest and prosecution of the armed militias committing the atrocities in Benue and other parts of the federation.

The meeting demanded for the implementation of the 2014 national conference report in view of the resources and the intellectual prowess that went into it, saying it believed that the resolutions of the exercise would go a long way in addressing certain misgivings in the country.

It also endorsed the immediate restructuring of the nation, saying it would engender peace and unity.

Meanwhile, a section of farmers and cattle rearers has accused some traditional rulers in the South West of colluding with herdsmen to graze farms in the zone.

The accusation was made by stakeholders yesterday at an interactive session involving farmers and herders at the headquarters of the Oyo State Police Command in Ibadan.

The parley was summoned by the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abiodun Odude, as part of activities to ensure peaceful coexistence in the state.

A traditional ruler, Chief Jamiu Adedamola Badmus, enjoined Governor Abiola Ajimobi to warn monarchs against contracting Fulani youths to tend their herds.

According to Mr. Wale Idowu from Saki West Local Council, “farmers and herders are not enemies. It is our leaders who are our enemies. Some of you, our leaders, have cattle with these Fulani herdsmen.”

To Apostle Joshua Ojo, a traditional ruler from Iberekodo, the Federal Government should take proactive measures to tighten the nation’s porous borders to check influx of illegal immigrants.

Besides, members of the Kaduna chapter of Benue Media Forum (BMF) opposed the proposed cattle colony and backed Governor Samuel Ortom on the state’s anti-open grazing law.

They commended the passion and courage demonstrated by the governor, members of the House of Assembly and the entire people of the state in ensuring that the piece of legislation law was passed and implemented.

In a statement by the chairman, Idibia Gabriel, the forum supported the move to cede from the North if the attacks continue.


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