The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, MACBAN, says over one thousand of its members and two million cows were killed in attacks backed by the Benue state government. Baba Ngeljarma, the association’s national secretary, said the anti-grazing laws put in place by some states was an attempt to banish Fulanis from entering their states. He said the law was borne out of hatred for the tribe.
Ngeljarma pointed out that reports had said that a Tiv militia gang arrested by the army had said they were backed by the Benue state government. He claimed that the current crisis was created by the state governments as a result of their actions.
“The anti-open-grazing law in Benue, Taraba and other states is nothing more than a symbol of intolerance and do not in any way intend to solve the farmers/grazers conflict as the livestock breeders interest is neither captured in the law nor in its implementation mechanism.
“Two days ago, the media was awash with the story of Tiv militia gang arrested in Taraba state by the Army who confessed that over 1000 of them were recruited and dangerously armed by the Benue state government to kill the Fulani herdsmen.
“No doubt the activities of these criminal gangs are putting our people in unbearable pains as they operate with the greatest impunity under the protection of the state government.
“Only very recently we have lost over 1000 people including children, women and the aged and over 2 million cattle to this gang. We are more disturbed today as this state government hides under the self created crises and blackmailing the federal government into releasing to them security operatives to achieve their illegal and wicked agenda on our people.”
“The trend of attacks on our defenceless members by ethnic militias oiled by a deliberate profiling through coordinated media campaigns against our members, to say the least, is the worst crime against humanity.
“What started as communal clashes has since metamorphosed into a coordinated operation to exterminate our people. From the killings in Plateau state, to southern Kaduna to Benue, Taraba and Adamawa among others the story is only worsening by the day,” he said.
The group, however, recommended that compensation be paid to victims of the crisis to alleviate their suffering.