…Humanitarian crisis likely due to FG ‘s inaction — Tiv in Diaspora forum
By Kinsley Omonobi & Peter Duru
MAKURDI—BOTHERED by the spate of bloody clashes between Fulani herdsmen in parts of the country and Benue State in particular, Governor Samuel Ortom weekend urged Nigerians to encourage the herdsmen to resort to ranching rather than wild crazing.
This came as the Tiv diaspora forum, comprising sons and daughters of Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa expressed outrage over the continued killing of their relations by rampaging herdsmen and pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently convene a council of state meeting to proffer lasting solution before the situation got out of hand.
Governor Ortom who spoke in Makurdi was reacting to the recent killings of scores of farmers at Tse Igba Uke village near Ikpayonge in Gwer East Local Government area of the state which led to an irate mob taking over the popular Makurdi-Enugu road for several hours.
Ortom reiterated his stance that ranching of cows was the panacea to the lingering clashes in parts of the country.
“The solution to Fulani invasion is ranching. There is nowhere in the world where we have cattle moving about except in Nigeria. Why must we live with animals? How can we continue to spend on security in the midst of recession? We must ranch our cattle. Nigeria must come together to support herdsmen ranching their cattle. The people must also learn to report to security agencies whenever there are issues in their communities. Two wrongs can never make a right. People will begin to be afraid of Benue if we continue in crisis this way. No matter the provocation, we must be law-abiding so that government can fight for us.”
The Governor advised the people of the state to resist any temptation to take the laws into their hands if attacked by mauraiders in the interest of peace.
He also lauded the initiative of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government which he said was aimed at ensuring relative peace in the state by providing enough security to check the various security breaches in parts of the state.
Meanwhile, the Tiv diaspora forum warned that if federal government does not effectively tackle the herdsmen problem, Nigeria could well be sitting on a time bomb with potential for a catastrophic regional humanitarian crisis that would result to a proliferation of arms among communities.
A statement by the group jointly signed by Signed Prof. Joseph T. Zume (USA), Engr. Lord M. Uva (USA), Son Kai Gyoh (Ph.D.) (United Kingdom and Ireland), Engr. Mathew Atim (USA) reads, “We, the Tiv Diaspora Forum, an amalgamation of Tiv sons and daughters residing outside Benue, have decided to join voices with our kith and kin, and indeed, all well-meaning Nigerians, to condemn the recurring savage assaults on farming communities across Nigeria by well-armed Fulani herdsmen and their accomplices, described by the Buhari Government as foreign criminal groups. We have become particularly disturbed by: (1) the frequency, (2) the geographic scope, and (3) the sophistication of these violent operations.
“We observe that, if the Buhari government does not effectively tackle the herdsmen problem, Nigeria could well be sitting on a timed bomb with potential for a catastrophic regional humanitarian crisis; if not quickly addressed, the herdsmen situation is bound to result to a proliferation of arms among communities with dangerous and long-term consequences.”