By Peter Duru – Makurdi
All Farmers Association of Nigeria, AFAN, Wednesday expressed shocked at the recent claim by the Plateau State Governor, Mr. Simon Lalong that farmers in Nigeria like herders also bear AK47 riffles for self defense.
The farmers who rejected the assertion described it as insulting and unacceptable.
AFAN Benue State chapter in a statement in Makurdi by its chairman, Aondongu Saaku and Secretary, Anthony Onu Ogbole also rejected the claim in its entirety.
Part of the statement read, “we watched with shock, Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong on Channels Television where he accused farmers of carrying AK-47 riffles like Fulani herdsmen.
“All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Benue State Chapter finds Governor Lalong’s accusation grossly unacceptable, and we hereby reject it in its entirety.
“We consider the Plateau State Governor’s utterances as an insult to farmers of Benue State in particular and Nigerian farmers in general whose efforts in feeding the nation are being frustrated by atrocities of armed herdsmen.
“Benue farmers are peaceful and law abiding. We do not take the law into our hands despite the many unprovoked attacks on our members who are killed in their hundreds and their only source of livelihood destroyed by armed herdsmen.
“We commend the efforts of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom in the enactment of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law and numerous other measures he is taking to guarantee lasting peace and security in the state.
“We also acknowledge the Governor for his firm stand for justice and his unflinching commitment to ensuring that thousands of our members who have been displaced as a result of herdsmen attacks returned to their ancestral homes. We are still waiting for the N10billion promised by the Federal Government to help the displaced farmers to resettle.
“We are encouraged by the Governor’s selfless efforts and it is our belief that someday soon, we will get justice. We hereby call on the national office of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria to rise in defence of her members across the country.”