By Boluwaji Obahopo
LOKOJA—Outrage has continued to trail the decision of Governor Yahaya Bello to make Kogi State available for the pioneer scheme of the Federal Government-proposed cattle colony for herdsmen.
While a community leader said Governor Bello should jettison the idea as he is not the owner of Kogi, Igala people, who petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari, said it is an invitation to breakdown of law and order.
The community leader, Chief Alhassan Ejike, warned the governor not to venture into the establishment of cattle colonies in any part of the state, noting that he must tread softly to avoid any looming disaster that will follow such an open invitation to herdsmen.
“You are not the owner of Kogi and you cannot allocate a land that doesn’t belong to you to foreigners,” he noted.
In a similar development, the people of Kogi-East, comprising nine local government areas, petitioned President Buhari, dissociating themselves and their area from the purported plan to situate any cattle colony in their land.
The local government are Ankpa, Bassa, Dekina, Ibaji, Idah, Igalamela/Odolu, Ofu, Olamaboro and Omala.
In the petition signed by the President, Igala Project, Mr. Atayi Babs, and the Secretary General, Musa Haruna, in Lokoja yesterday, the group said it was vehemently opposed to the move, adding “our people, who are largely farmers, are not prepared to host herdsmen or cattle colony masters in our land.
“Our position is further reinforced by the multiple acts of war and mayhem being unleashed daily on our innocent farmers and hapless law-abiding citizens in their villages, homes and farmlands by rampaging herdsmen.
“Despite the brazen nature of their acts of criminality, none of the herdsmen has been arrested or made to account for these crimes, as these heavily-armed cattle herders terrorise our land, flaunting their prowess in the handling of AK-47 rifles and double-barrelled guns.
“We reject any attempt to convert or transfer the ownership of ancestral lands in Igala to cattle colony master or owners, who operate by killing people, destroying communities wholesale, and destroying farmlands while enjoying government protection from counter-attack, arrest or prosecution.
“We reject attempts to turn Igala land into the next killing field of marauding herdsmen.”