Benue Farmers Tackle Lalong over AK-47 Comment

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By George Okoh

The Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Benue State chapter, Mr. Aondogu Saaku, has described the statement made by the Plateau State Governor, Mr. Simon Lalong, that both farmers and herdsmen carry sophisticated weapons, as despicable and insulting to farmers.

He said the farmers were shocked as the Plateau State governor on Channels Television accused farmers of carrying AK-47 riffles like the Fulani herdsmen.

The state farmers’ leader made this known in a statement made available to THISDAY in Makurdi yesterday.

According to him, “The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Benue State chapter finds Governor Lalong’s accusation grossly unacceptable, and we hereby reject it in its entirety.

“We consider the state governor’s utterances as an insult to farmers of Benue State in particular and Nigeria in general whose efforts in feeding the country are being frustrated by atrocities committed by armed herdsmen.”

He said Benue farmers are peaceful and law-abiding, and do not take laws into their hands despite the many unprovoked attacks on their members who are being killed in their hundreds and their only source of livelihood destroyed by armed herdsmen.

Saaku commended the efforts of the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, in the enactment of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law and numerous other measures taken to guarantee lasting peace and security in the state.

“We also acknowledge the governor for his firm stand for justice and his unflinching commitment to ensuring that thousands of our members who have been displaced as a result of herdsmen attacks return to their ancestral homes. We are still waiting for the N10billion promised by the federal government to help displaced farmers to resettle,” he stated.

He called on the national office of AFAN to rise in defence of its members across the country.