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Fulani Herdsmen Invade Kogi Community, Kill 10 |The Republican News

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From Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja

No fewer than 10 famers were killed on Friday as Fulani herdsmen invaded two local government councils in Kogi State after allegedly setting their farmlands on fire.

The incident took place in Omala and Yagba West local government councils.

According to an eyewitness account Saturday, some Fulani herdsmen invaded Ogabifo Village near Agbenema Community and Agbabifo in Omala Local Government Area and killed the younger brother of the community chief, Paul Awodi after ransacking the community and setting some houses on fire.

It was gathered that the herdsmen that earlier invaded the farmland with their cattle were infuriated over the audacity of the farmers that challenged them on why they destroyed their crops

It was further gathered that after invading the village, the Fulani herdsmen went back to the farm and destroyed their crops and escaped unchallenged.

A source said the five herdsmen were fully armed with AK 47 and other weapons.

Following this, residents in the community fled the place in fear of another attack as the herdsmen were said to have been emboldened as a result of Governor Yahaya Bello’s order that Kogi residents must accommodate the herdsmen.

In a similar incident, Fulani herdsmen also invaded another farmland in Yagba West Local Government Council of the state.

An eyewitness account disclosed that the herdsmen with over 30 cattle invaded a rice farm owned by a woman in Omi, destroyed the rice farm and chased farmers away

A farmer, who did not want his identity revealed disclosed that the attacker herdsmen were fully armed when they arrived the farmland.

He added that other farmers were in their farm working when they heard gun shots when the herdsmen invaded the farms.

He therefore appealed to the state government to take a proactive step by calling the herdsmen to order.

The Kogi State governor, Bello last week had said that he will not introduce any anti grazing law to curtail herdsmen in the state.

According to the governor during a stakeholders’ meeting between the state government, the Miyyeti Allah Cattle Rearers Association and the Farmers Association in Kogi State, Bello said rather, he threw the gate of the state open to any Fulani herdsman who work without breaching the eace even.those that cant cope in bearby states that have curtailing laws.   (The Sun)

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Residents Flee Home As Fulani Herdsmen Invade Mbiabong Ito Community, Cross River |RN

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Archive photo: Fulani herdsman

Mudiaga Affe, Calabar

At least over 300 residents of Mbiabong Ito community in Ito-South clan of Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River State have fled their homes following the invasion of the community by Fulani herdsmen on Tuesday.

It was learnt on Wednesday that the herdsmen, who invaded the community with large number of cows, had forcefully resisted attempts by the villagers to deny them access to their farmlands for grazing.

The herdsmen were said to have entered the community from Arochukwu, a town located at the southern end of Abia State.

There are fears that there might have been some casualties, but the Police source could not confirm it.

A relative of one of the displaced villagers, who identified himself as Eyo Edet, said his kinsmen abandoned their homes and took refuge in the bushes around when the herdsmen started shooting into the air.

He said his relative told him that at least 300 persons fled their homes when it became obvious that the herdsmen had sophisticated weapons and were bent on unleashing mayhem.

Edet said, “I got a call from my relative in Mbiabong Ito that Fulani herdsmen have invaded the community with their cows. She said over 300 villagers are in the bush because of the fear of the herdsmen.

“My relative told me that herdsmen came with a large number of cows and wanted the cows to feed on the farmlands, but when the villagers resisted, the herdsmen brought out guns.

“She said there were numerous gunshots and the villagers had to take to the bush when it became obvious that the suspected herdsmen had more sophisticated weapons.”

It was not clear as at the time of filing this report if the fleeing villagers had returned to their homes, but another source said it was unlikely, as the Police had yet to arrive.

“They cannot go back because the Police had yet to come to their rescue as at 1pm on Wednesday,” the source said.

A senior policeman in the Odukpani Police Division, who craved anonymity because he was not authorised to speak, said Police found it difficult to access the community on Tuesday because of the rough terrain.

“We got the information early Wednesday morning. You should understand that it will take a while before we can authoritatively give you information on the situation in the area.

“To get to the area is a challenge, as we would have to either travel to Akwa Ibom State before diverting to the village or go through the river in Itu,” he said.

Meanwhile, the state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Irene Ugbo, confirmed the development, saying riot policemen have been drafted to maintain peace in the troubled community.

“The situation is confirmed. We are not sure if there are casualties for now; but I can confirm that we have just deployed our men to maintain peace in the community.

“I will still try to get more details,” she said.   (Punch)

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Imo Community Raises Alarm Over Alleged Invasion By Fulani Herdsmen |RN

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From: GEORGE ONYEJIUWA, OWERRI

The people of Amala communities in Ngor Okpala council area of Imo State who are majorly farmers, have raised the alarm over the alleged invasion of their farmlands by Fulani herdsmen.

They are calling on the state government to quickly intervene to avert a bloody clash between herdsmen and the people whose farms are being daily destroyed.

Venerable Kingsley Okere of St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Amala, who made the appeal when the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Egbu, Rt. Rev Geoffrey Okorafor, paid a pastoral visit to the Church, on Sunday, noted the activities of the herdsmen and their cattle were already posing serious threat to the flock of God in the area.

He said they were not only worried over the current level of devastation of the people’s farm produce but were overwhelmed by the trailer loads of these cattle being dropped daily in the area and wondered when the invasion of the farms would end.

Ven. Okere, who observed that activities of the herdsmen and their cattle were causing unimaginable pains on the farmers who depended solely on farming for their survival and sustenance, expressed the fear that hunger would begin to ravage the communities if nothing was done to checkmate the activities of the herdsmen.

Traditional ruler of one of the three Autonomous Communities in Amala, Eze Bennette Osinachi Uduhirinwa of Alatia Community, described the situation as very ‘serious and critical.’

Eze Udushirinwa noted that tension was already building up as the youths are now threatening a show down with the invaders but were being calmed down. He the appeal to all relevant authorities to urgently step in to restrain the herdsmen from further destruction of their farms.

Amala is a border town between Imo and Rivers states. (The Sun)

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Police Arrest 10 Over Farmers, Fulani Herdsmen Clash In Kebbi |RN

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The Police in Kebbi State has arrested 10 suspects in connection with the recent violent clash between farmers and herdsmen in Bakoshi Community of Suru Local Government Area of the state.

The Commissioner of Police, Kabir Ibrahim, who accompanied Gov. Atiku Bagudu to the scene of the clash on Friday, said more suspects were being tracked down.

The clash led to the destruction of foodstuff and livestock, with one person dead.

The commissioner said that the discovery of the corpse of a farmer, Shehu Bakoshi, 30, close to the settlement of the herdsmen resulted in the reprisal attack by farmers.

The District Head of Bakuwai, Jagwadeji Tukur, commended the police for their quick intervention by arresting identified persons who attacked herdsmen in the community.

The governor directed the immediate resettlement of the dispersed herdsmen with a promise to provide basic amenities to the new settlement.

He blamed rumour mongers for the escalation of the clash and warned that perpetrators would be penalised.

The Chairman of the local government, Alhaji Umaru Miagandi, said the council would provide assistance to the victims.

Miagandi also said that awareness campaign would be embarked upon to educate the people on the need to avoid “violent resolution of disputes”. (NAN)

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Anti-Grazing Law Is A Time Bomb – Miyetti Allah |The Republican News

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From: Noah Ebije, Kaduna

The Fulani socio-cultural association, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, North west zone, on Monday, rose from a meeting in Kaduna State to declare that anti-grazing law was a time bomb.

According to the association, the law was an attempt to destroy herders’ means of livelihood.

National President of the association, Alhaji Abdullahi Bello Bodejo, and the National Secretary, Sale Alhassan, who jointly addressed newsmen, said the anti-grazing law was not in the best interest of peaceful coexistence among Nigerians.

They said the need to urgently address the issue could not be over-emphasised.

To this end, the leadership of the association has called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, to provide security for Fulani herdsmen particularly those in Benue and Taraba states that are currently facing all forms of threat.

“The grazing law agenda is destroying herders means of livelihood and we are appealing for immediate intervention to safe the Fulani pastoralist from the total destruction of their means of livelihood by current trends from some state governors enacting segregational anti-grazing law which targets primarily at the economic livelihood of the herders”.

The President however debunked insinuations that there are plans by the herders to attack Benue communities, stressing that Fulanis are peaceful and law abiding citizens who will not do anything that will truncate peaceful coexistence.

According to the national leaders “At the end of the north west meeting, after series of deliberations, we are completely opposed to the anti grazing law, and we are worried on the possible crisis that may emerge if such laws are allowed to take effect.

“It is a negative law because it attempts to expel Fulani herdsmen from their grazing areas for ages, besides, that of Benue anti grazing law, no herder were involved during the cause of its preparation to get their input. To us, ensuring security of citizens should be the priority of governance, but this anti grazing law is nothing but a time bomb if not addressed with wisdom.

“It is a national challenge that requires a National interventions by well meaning government, because it is capable of creating serious conflicts on the land resources, hence developing a policy of sustainable management of land resources is of essence.

“We have continued to appeal to our members to be law abiding and I want to say categorically that the rumours that Fulani herdsmen are planning to attack communities in Benue State is not true and must be ignored by well meaning Nigerians.

” We will continue to support Federal government policies on crop and animal farming, particularly on the agro rangers which is aimed at providing security for all categories of farmers.

” We are therefore appealing on the IGP Ibrahim Idris to provide security for Fulani herdsmen against all forms of threat occasioned by the anti grazing law to avoid emerging conflicts” the association leadership said.   (The Sun)

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Obey Benue Laws Or Go To Jail, Gov. Ortom Tells Fulani Herdsmen |RN

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Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom

Benue State prides itself as the food basket of the nation. With abundant farm produce in every nook and cranny, its claim is barely in doubt. But, no thanks to the bloody attacks of cattle herders, many indigenes of the state are discouraged, these days, from going to the farm. In this interview with HENRY AKUBUIRO at the Benue State capital, Governor Samuel Ortom calls on the cattle herders to abide by the new state law on ranching as a way of providing lasting peace in the agrarian state or risk jail. Besides, against the backdrop of mounting responsibilities for state governments in the federation, the governor reiterated that more allocations should be channeled to the states than the Federal Government receives at the moment.

Some state governors are calling for greater allocations from the Federal Government as against what they get at the moment, in fact, to get more than what the centre is getting. How would a state like Benue react to this?

You see, the Federal Government, apart from Abuja that it manages, every other thing in the thirty-six states is managed by the states and, in fact, most times, Federal Government projects are duplication of what the states are doing, especially these constituency projects that you have all over from the National Assembly. You go to a community, and you have three clinics; what are they doing there? It doesn’t make sense. But we [governors] are in touch with the grassroots, with the people; we are here with them. They see us; we interact with them; and we have feedback from them on what they need. But we do not have that money to execute projects that will have direct impact on the people. And sometimes, for the projects sited by the Federal Government, no thorough work is done, no feasibility studies are done, and, especially, when there is no synergy with the state government, it becomes a big problem. So, you see that the burden of governance is more on the states than Federal Government. We will prefer a situation where the Federal Government is deeply involved in coordinating policies and coordinating uniformity and creating the enabling environment with the states so that we can function. When it comes to funding, the states need more than what the Federal Government needs.

You have just called on Nigerian writers to partner with you on advocacy for ranches for cattle herders, how far do you want this to go?

I want it to go to all the nooks and crannies of this country because the menace of herdsmen attack is not just on Benue people but it is on other Nigerians as well. We decided to champion the cause of restoring peace, orderliness and security for our own state, and I appreciate the fact that other states are already keying into this programme. That is a global best practice for cattle farming or livestock farming and by the way livestock or cattle farming is a business. You do it to get income to sustain yourself just like we here are farmers and we farm to sustain ourselves, so it should not be done at the detriment of other people. While we are living, we should also respect the rights of other people to live. It should not be at the expense of others, and so I would want this thing to go beyond Benue State, because when it happens to another state, I won’t be a happy man. I know what we suffered between 2012 and 2016. We have estimated that we lost more than N95 billion worth of goods and property, excluding human beings that died. N95 billion! If you go to the rural areas, you see schools, churches, hospitals, houses, farmlands, all that destroyed. In 2013, I lost my rice farm and farm implements. My ancestral home was razed; my entire village was razed; more than 50 people were killed in one day. So, this is a very big challenge.

For us to have arrived at sending an executive bill to the House of Assembly, we fasted and prayed, and God gave us that wisdom to have a permanent solution to this problem. Go to America; go to Europe; go to Asia; and even here in African, Kenya and Tanzania are doing it: ranching. I was in Swaziland, a small country, four years ago, and the country’s major earning is beef, but they ranch. So, why can’t we ranch in Nigeria? Where is the land with the upsurge of population? In the 1950s, when people argue that they had cattle routes and grazing areas, the question is:  “What was the total population of Nigeria? [It was] less than 40 million people. Today, in 2017, I can approximate it to be over 200 million, because the projection in 2012 was 170 million. So, by today, we should be over 200 million. But what is the land mass now?  What was it in 1950? It’s still 923, 000 square kilometres, even less with the ceding of Bakassi to the Cameroon. So, we have a lesser land mass than what used to obtain when we were less in population than now. So, it’s unfortunate that we have kept sealed lips and, honestly, I feel so sad; but I will continue to do what is right, as far as I know, as a person. Even if I die today, I know I have done the right thing. I am championing the cause of ensuring that we have ranching, which is the global best practice, and is the only solution. I have challenged herdsmen; I have challenged any one, including Miyetti Allah, that I am calling for the arrest of the leadership of Miyetti Allah, Kautal Hore, who took us to court for a law that we legitimately passed, and is threatening to invade our state. A law that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria permits us to put in place! A law that seeks to protect lives and property! A law that seeks to bring peace to our people! Then, you take us to court.

I have said that the security agencies should arrest them for threatening me and my state that they would make the law not to function. I am waiting to see who will trespass. I am waiting to see who will not respect that law in Benue State. I have said it, I am not forcing anyone to live in Benue State. If you want to do open grazing, you can go to any other state that land is available. For me, here we are farmers and we cannot pay salaries as at when due today, so we want to have food on the table for everyone, and we have massively encouraged our people to go into agriculture, and they have done that. There is no single hectare of land available for grazing in Benue State. If you want to stay in Benue State, we are not sending you away –you can stay, but if you have cattle, you must ranch them. If you don’t ranch, the law will catch up with you, and you will be sent to jail. There is no two ways about it. And we are not just talking about cattle –we are talking about livestock –so pigs, goats and all of them are all involved. So, I want as many Nigerians that can support us in advocacy and let people understand, because the misconception is that the law is targeting individuals or Fulani men or certain ethnic groups and so on; it’s not right. The law seeks to ensure peace for every one living in Benue State, including Fulani herdsmen and any other person whatsoever. We want peace. And so, if the herdsmen ranch, the law will protect them from cattle rustlers. There are stiff penalties waiting for cattle rustlers. So, we would appreciate this, whatever you can do within your powers, to reach out to many as are ready to listen to us –please, do –and I believe that God will bless you, because we have suffered enough, and we think that this law is the solution, and I have challenged anyone out there who think that there is a better option of ensuring peace and security for Benue State to bring it on the table. We are ready to call Benue stakeholders to review the whole thing again. But outside that, if they cannot challenge us with a superior policy that will restore peace, they should keep quiet and respect our views.

Why is it inevitable to hand over private schools to the owners as you have proposed?

We have to make adjustments to meet with the economic realities in which we have found ourselves today as a government. It’s no longer news that we cannot pay salaries as at when due, and we are trying to shelve  responsibilities that are making it impossible for us to pay salaries as at when due. If you go out there, private schools and mission schools are doing better than what government is doing, so why should we continue to sponsor them? That is the point. We have discussed with owners of schools, and that was our agreement with them. We feel that we are better off so that government can concentrate more on its schools instead of having half-baked graduates from these schools. We should concentrate on our schools and lay a sound foundation for our children. We want to go back to those days that government schools were respected –that is what motivated us and we are going to do it.

Can you achieve it within the time frame you set between now and January 2019?

It’s a process that we have to start. Others did not do it, but we want to do it. I think it’s the way out. Government schools will still continue, but if you want to go to a private school, you go there. Even as it is now, people are going to private schools so it doesn’t stop anything. We will continue.

How are you able to provide dividends of democracy against the backdrop of economic recession experienced in the country for quite some time?

We are prudent, and it has helped us. Here in Benue State, we are very prudent with the little resource we have. One, as a government that has the fear of God, we promised the people even before we came in that we would ensure truthfulness, equity, fairness, justice, transparency, accountability and selflessness. We are not looking at what we can get, but what we can impact on the people. And so that has guided us. Despite the challenges we have, the little that comes in –initially, things were not as bad as they are today, and we were able to channel to those projects. That is why we have impacted today on several communities. When it comes to education, today Benue State University has been paid up to date. When we came, they were on strike for months. We negotiated with them, and because of the attachment we have in promoting education and developing education, we have paid them up to date. At the primary school, we were able to secure N3.8 billion loan to match with UBEC and, today, we have N7.6 billion to promote primary education. Construction of new classroom blocks, provision of instructional materials, provision of desks and all that is going on all over the 276 council wards in Benue State. Some are completed; some are ongoing; some will soon be completed. We are renovating our secondary schools to bring them to a standard that our children will be proud.

In the health sector, we have been able to record milestones. The School of Nursing that was shut for five years have been resuscitated, regained accreditation just the same with College of Health Technology, Agasha, and for students of the College of Health Sciences at the Benue State University who were stagnated, medical students that were stagnated for 12 years, a course that could have been completed in six years, for 12  years they were there. It was this administration that came with the determination that ‘look we must put this behind us’. We went further and secured all that was needed to get the accreditation. We got it, and, as I talk to you, within two years, we have been able to graduate four sets of medical students who are now medical doctors –152 medical doctors from the Benue State University. On infrastructure, we have constructed several roads linking up communities in the state. We took over from the past administration many uncompleted road projects; we have been able to do some of them with the little resources we have. I can go on and on in empowerment and all that. In all sectors, we have tried. In electricity provision, we have done a lot, they are on record and I hope that the Media Adviser will give you a brochure that we published recently. So far, prudence has guided us and for us we are selfless, it’s not what we get, but it’s what we can do to impact on the people.

What is Benue doing to improve on rice production, given that it is a rice producing state, and there is a redirection at the federal level for us to be self-sustaining in rice production?

We have done so much since we came in two years ago. In fact, we were almost losing our honour as the food basket of the nation. When we came in we put agriculture top on our priority list and today we have gone back. We have been able to partner with the International Fund for Agriculture Development, IFAD, we paid all the counterpart funding that was needed and massively the impact of IFAD on Benue State agriculture is noticed in almost all the three senatorial districts. We have been able to provide fertilizer on time. We have been able to encourage the people to go back to agriculture, because that is one area that we have comparative advantage and, in the face of difficulties in funding, we feel that food should be on our table and, so, massively, we have encouraged our people. In rice production, we have done so well and we are willing to close the gaps. If you go out to various communities in Benue State, you will see massive rice cultivation and we are looking forward to a bountiful harvest this year. In soya beans production, we are doing very excellent at it. It is just the market that we are looking for. Maize, sesame seed, yam, and cassava are there.

In fact, Benue State is blessed. The land is arable, more than 98 percent of it, and with the River Benue and Katsina Ala passing through Benue, we are also taking advantage and encouraging our people that, now, that we have a law guiding that, the Fulani herdsmen will no longer be a threat to agriculture they should go back to the farm and not just restrict themselves to rainy season farming they should go into dry season farming taking advantage of the rivers we have in Benue State and the canals and the streams and, of course, some few dams and so, that is what we are doing. And that is why we have to thank God that we have a law in place now. We will no longer be molested when we go to farm. And I want to appreciate the real Miyetti Allah whom I invited and after explaining to them our predicament that look the land is no longer there, and I had offered to provide security and provide the mobility to take them round Benue State to see things for themselves, to see any area where there is one hectare of land for open grazing. And they appreciated it and embrace this law and advised their members accordingly that, truly, what the governor is saying is true, and it’s a reflection of what the people want. And so, we are very much appreciative to the Almighty God for giving us Benue State, for giving us, this land, and we are ready to not just feeding Nigeria; we are ready to feed Africa.   (The Sun)

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Fulani Herdsmen Kill One, Seriously Injure 70-year-old Man In Benue |RN

From: Rose Ejembi, Makurdi

Barely 24 hours after the commencement of the implementation of the anti-open grazing law by Benue State government, the state’s police command has confirmed one person, Ortse Kwaghdoo, killed and another, a 70-year-old man, Hingir Akaa, brutally injured following an attack on Azege village in Logo Local Government Area of the state by suspected herdsmen.

Police Public Relations’ Officer in the state, ASP Moses Yamu, who confirmed the incident said, “On November 2, 2017, a report was received that there was an attack on Azege village in Logo when suspected herdsmen were passing through in the early hours of the day.”

“The DPO and Mobile Police Men stationed at Ayilamo quickly moved in, discovered that one Otte Kwaghdoo 40 years was killed while a septuagenarian, Hingir Akaa sustained injuries. The corpse was deposited at NKST mortuary Ayilamo while the injured is receiving treatment. However, one Gambo Ahmadu was arrested with a locally made pistol with three live cartridges. Investigation is ongoing.

The police image maker, therefore, called for calm among the people as, according to him, the Police and other security agencies in the state were already putting proactive measures in place to tackle any incident arising from the the implementation of the law.

Also confirming the report, Special Adviser to Governor Samuel Ortom on Security, Col. Edwin Jando (rtd), who also doubles as the State Chairman, Task Force on Implementation of Anti-Open Grazing law confirmed that there was an attack in the area.

Jando who disclosed that the herdsmen came and attacked some persons who were fishing and killed one person, said one of the suspect had been arrested with the weapon he used even as he urged people if the area not to panic as government was on top of the situation already.  (The Sun)

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