By Yemi Adedeji, Abuja
The Miyetti-Allah Kautal Hore Fulani Socio-cultural Association has appealed to Ibrahim Idri, Inspector General of Police (IGP), to mobilise security personnel to Benue State to protect the Fulanis saying their lives are in danger.
Abdullahi Bello Bodejo, National President of the association, and Saleh Alhassan, National Secretary, gave the hint at a press conference on Sunday in Abuja.
Bodejo equally lamented that since the coming into force of Benue state anti-grazing law in November 1, 2017 over 10,000 herdsmen have been displaced, while over 600 cows have died.
According to him, “we are appealing to the Inspector General of police to mobilise security to protect the lives of Fulanis are under threat. Even personally, I’m also receiving threat.”
On his part, Alhassan decried that Audu Ogbe, Minister of Agriculture is exploiting his relationship with the president to undermine the interest of livestock producers in this country, adding that the present psychology of the minister would not bring succour to herdsmen in the country.
He lamented that livestock production has been neglected over the years. He wondered why FADAMA project is aggressively being sponsored by the World Bank without taking livestock production into consideration.
Baring his mind on the casualties recorded as a result of anti grazing law, he stressed that, “so far, we have a reported case of a particular Fulani man, Abdukadri who committed suicide because he lost over 200 cows. We have the criminal eviction of over 10,000 headers, they are forced into Nassarawa border communities, Taraba and some into Cross Rivers.
“So far, from the report we receive from our members in Benue state, they lost over 600 cattles to hunger, and lack of water.
“We have gun-wielding Task Force under one Col. Edwin Jando patrolling along border communities threading herders with gun. So, they had to run, self preservation is a natural instinct, but it is just temporary because by the time they are pushed through ecologically, they will still go back to the valley, so that is why you will have the serious conflict,” he said.
Speaking further, Alhassan stated: “up till now, all the policies develop for livestock production are just at the table. The idea of creating an agency to ensure there is identification and tagging and management of livestock in this country is germane and it’s an international practice . If that agency come in place, every cattle you have in this country will carry a chip.
“It will address this security issue. If you say cattle have trespassed into your farm, just arrest one, the chip will identify the owner. All abattoir will not take cattle that are not tagged, it is a technology that has been used to address lack of accountability to end this bisque of unknown gunmen.
“The livestock department in the ministry of agriculture has failed completely. It is a deliberate sabotage. There is underlining politics about it, unfortunately most of the people in charge of policies in the agricultural sector are from the background of crop producers. They have this inherent bias against livestock production. In fact the minister should see that policy as a complimentary policy because you have companies that are ready to come with that technology of tagging livestocks
“For the minister to oppose it, I believe is either being mischievous or so ignorant of the policy.
We are calling for the removal of the responsibility of livestock policy from the ministry as it is now. As it is now the chemistry, the psychology of Audu Ogbe that we know of today is not ready to bring succour to pastoralists,” Alhassan noted.