“The leaders representing various socio-cultural groups and tribal authorities in Benue State strongly oppose any Federal Government plan to build houses and settlements for Fulani herdsmen within the state. They assert that the recent announcement by the Federal Government, which includes plans to build 1,000 housing units in seven states, including Benue, is viewed with suspicion and will not be accepted within Benue State.
In a joint statement released by Iorbee Ihagh, President General of Mzough U Tiv, MUT, Worldwide, and AVM Toni Adokwu (retd), President-General of Ochetoha k’Idoma, OKI, these groups emphasize that no part of Benue State will be allocated for the establishment of housing or colonies intended for Fulani herders.
The leaders express their concern about the plight of over two million Benue indigenes who have been displaced by armed herders and continue to reside in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps scattered across the state. They call upon the Federal Government to halt the proposed project, which is purportedly part of a broader strategy to address conflicts in the northern region. This project is said to include amenities such as schools, clinics, veterinary facilities, and ranches for the Fulani community.
According to the statement, the construction of such a facility in Benue State should undergo a thorough consultation process involving all stakeholders, especially the state government. The leaders criticize the rushed manner in which the project was conceived, approved, and slated for implementation without prior consultation with the state government.
The statement underscores the commitment of the various ethnic groups in the state to stand behind Governor Hyacinth Alia, ensuring that no portion of the state is relinquished to anyone, including the Federal Government, for the purpose of building settlements for what they describe as ‘oppressors.’
The leaders call upon President Bola Tinubu to cancel the project and direct relevant agencies to initiate a resettlement and rehabilitation process for the IDPs in Benue State, enabling them to return to their ancestral homes.
They also draw President Tinubu’s attention to the situation in Moon Council Ward of Kwande LGA, where locals have been displaced, and their properties occupied by armed herdsmen. Urgent intervention is requested to address this matter, and they urge President Tinubu to embrace the Benue State ranching law to foster peaceful coexistence between farmers and herdsmen in the state.”
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