- Jukuns urge Taraba govt to set up vigilante
By George Okoh in Makurdi and Sunday Okobi in Lagos
Last weekend’s bloody attack by Fulani herdsmen on Buruku Local Government Area of Benue State has been blamed on Tiv youths.
This was revealed by the spokesman of Myetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Garus Gololo, who said the reason for the Friday night attack on the Tiv people of Agwabi village in Binev Council Ward in Buruku Local Government Area of the state which led to the death of many persons was due to the killing of 800 cattle by Tiv youths.
However, the state police command confirmed five people killed by suspected Fulani herdsmen on Friday night who invaded the affected community.
Gololo said information gathered from his kinsmen in the troubled Buruku area alleged that trouble started when youths from the affected village last Thursday carried away 800 cows belonging to the resident herders.
According to him, “the (herders) traced the missing cows the following day to that village and that was how trouble started.”
“This is highly regrettable because they should have notified the security apparatus already put in place by the state government who could have handled the matter. They didn’t report the matter even to us (MACBAN).
“It is painful that while the state government is doing everything to resolve the crisis, some others are taking the law into their hands. But, those found wanting in this matter would surely be handed over to the security agencies,” he said.
In another development, a foremost socio-cultural group in Taraba State, Jukun Development Association (JDA), yesterday urged the state Governor, Darius Ishaku, to immediately set up a vigilance group to monitor and ensure security of all farm settlements in the central and southern parts of the state as a measure to curb the herdsmen killings.
The group which rose from its emergency extra-ordinary congress yesterday in Lagos, said such steps became necessary in view of the federal government’s inability to ensure the security of lives and property of her people, especially farmers against rampaging armed Fulani herdsmen.
The Jukun people also resolutely rejected the proposed grazing reserve exclusively for Fulani people in the country, declaring that no part of Jukunland would be surrendered for whatever purpose to anyone outside the zone.
The association pointed out that Jukun people, as farmers, traditionally need more land to cultivate and sustain their growing population.
The association wondered why the government is planning to spend billions to create grazing reserves for private business ventures of individuals “who sell their cows at premium price and don’t even pay tax,” observing that if the grazing must be established, government must equally be prepared to create hunting, farming, fishing, and other reserves to cater for other Nigerians who don’t rare cows, but embrace other professions.
The extra-ordinary congress which had in attendance current, and past exco members of the association nationwide praised the association’s national president Mr. Benjamin Boko, for his quality leadership which many observed may go down in history as the most profound leadership for his numerous achievements since the inception of the association 30 years ago.
Bako whose tenure has expired was returned unopposed by the congress which passed a vote of confidence on his leadership.
Bako lauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s order on security operatives for a crackdown on the rampaging herdsmen with cautious optimism, wondering why it took the president so long to respond to the manslaughter which was occurring nationwide which attracted global condemnation.
He wondered why President Buhari would order a crackdown on the Niger Delta militants and pro-Biafran groups in the South-east and keep quiet while thousands of unarmed farmers, women and children are slaughtered daily in the nation’s North-central.
The association singled out and commended rights activist, Chief Femi Falana and Hon. Isaac Danjuma for their contributions to Jukunland and its people.