By Brenda Agba
The Benue State Government is to set a committee to investigate and bring to the fore, the root causes of the incessant clashes between farmers and herders in various communities across the state.
This is to enable the government find lasting solutions to the issue.
This was part of resolutions reached at the end of a joint stakeholders’ security meeting held recently at the the Benue State Government House, Makurdi.
Briefing newsmen shortly after the meeting, the Special Adviser to Governor Hyacinth Alia on Security, Hon. Joseph Har who chaired the meeting on behalf of the governor, said it became necessary to bring leaders of both the Tiv and Fulani communities from Katsina-Ala and Ukum local government areas to a round table discussion following continuous clashes in the area over which both sides have continued to trade blames.
According to Har, the Fulani leaders who denied causing trouble are alleging that there is a new group of people suspected to be Fulani from Taraba State that currently migrated to the area who they accused of causing mischief thereby giving them a bad name.
Speaking further, the Special Adviser disclosed that, “The Fulani leaders said those of them that have lived among the Tiv people for a long time now, know exactly where and when to graze their cattle.
“They have also promised to meet with members of the unknown group, find out who they are, their mission and where they are from and possibly show them the way out if need be.
“They however requested that the Benue State Government provides them security by the military to enable them carry out the task effectively.
“Apart from that, the government also issued out clear instructions to both groups during the meeting. The Fulani group has been told in clear terms the position of the Benue State Government concerning the Open Grazing Prohibition Law. The law has come to stay and must be strictly adhered to by all individuals and groups.
“The Benue farmers have also been advised to promptly report to constituted authority when they have issues with the herders rather than taking laws into their hands as this approach most times leads to the loss of too many lives and properties.
“Those who engage in cattle rustling should also desist forthwith as any one found guilty will be dealt with according to the provisions of the law,” Har stated.
Also speaking, the Ter Ukum, His Royal Highness, Chief Arc. Orkar Kaave, urged parents to caution their wards against engaging in acts that will trigger crises between the two groups even as he charged the Fulani herders to respect boundaries as they go about their businesses.
Chief Kaave assured of the traditional rulers’ readiness to join hands with the government in its efforts to put an end to the farmer/herder clashes which he noted has caused a lot of set back for the people and the state in general.
On his part, the leader of the Fulani Community in Katsina-Ala local government, Wakili Abdullahi Sheede who doubles as the Vice Chairman, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Benue State Chapter, stated their resolve to operate in line with the directives of the Benue State Government.
“We are not in Benue State to cause trouble and we will also play our part to ensure that this issue is tackled so that those displaced can also return home”, Sheede said.