Benue Killings: Fu­lani Group Protest FG’s N10bn Ges­ture to Farm­ers

THISDAY - - NEWS EXTRA - Seriki Adi­noyi in Jos

Gan Al­lah Fu­lani De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria (GAFDAN) has protested the ges­ture of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to­wards re­build­ing of de­stroyed set­tle­ments of farm­ers in Benue State as an­nounced by Vice Pres­i­dent Yemi Os­in­bajo dur­ing his visit to the state, warn­ing that “it could send wrong sig­nal that herds­men have al­ready been ac­cused, tried and sen­tenced by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and are be­ing col­lec­tively sin­gled out and pun­ished.”

In a state­ment, signed by the group’s Na­tional Chair­man, Al­haji Sale Ba­yari, the Fu­lani said: “What we do know is that hun­dreds of thou­sands of our mem­bers’ cows were con­fis­cated, rus­tled, killed and van­dalised by tribal mil­i­tants and live­stock guards es­tab­lished by the graz­ing re­serve law.

“Re­ports at our dis­posal show that these cat­tle be­longed to the in­no­cent Fu­lani herders who have noth­ing to live on, and are likely to re­sort to all des­per­ate means in other to sur­vive, hav­ing lost ir­re­triev­ably, their only means of sur­vival.”

Ba­yari ob­served: “So­ci­ety is at great risk when gov­ern­ment only ad­dresses a prob­lem se­lec­tively and one-sid­edly, thereby giv­ing the im­pres­sion that it is a fa­ther to only one fam­ily. The other ne­glected fam­ily may be hurt and de­cide to be un­co­op­er­a­tive. In the un­for­tu­nate sit­u­a­tion, like the one we have in Benue State, the gov­ern­ment must be fair and just to all, so that there must be no vic­tor and no van­quish so that eq­uity brings back love, peace and tran­quil­ity.”

GAFDAN urged the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to in­clude the herds­men in its pro­gramme of hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance, adding that “the mere fact that the herds­men are not in Benue State in­ter­nally dis­placed per­sons (IDPs) camps do not mean that they have not lost their homes and their only mono-trade means of liveli­hood, which is cat­tle rear­ing in the con­flict.”

Ba­yari ad­mon­ished gov­ern­ment and all wellmean­ing Nige­ri­ans to treat the Benue con­flict, and in­deed other con­flicts across the coun­try with fair­ness.

“It is our po­si­tion that the plight of the herds­men that lost 2,500 herds of cat­tle be looked into, with a view to as­sist­ing them as well,” he added.

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