AS the Benue State government set to commence the implementation of the Anti Open Grazing Law in the State come this Wednesday, Nov 1, 2017, a religious group, Nongo U Kristu U I Ser U Sha Tar (NKST) otherwise known as the Reformed Christian Church, on Monday has said that nothing should stop the law from taking effect.
President of the Church, Rev Dr Ayohol Ate who spoke at a press conference held at the state secretariat of Nigeria Union of Journalist, NUJ, Makurdi on Monday stated that the anti open grazing law was a sure panacea to the constant attacks on the people of the state.
Ate who was represented by Rev Dr Kurugh Antyev said that Fulani herdsmen had continuously attacking the Tiv , Agatu and Junkus; ‘killing, wounding and maiming hundreds of people on their ancestral lands.’
The church condemned in strong terms what it described as hate speech and inflammatory war language by the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore (MAKH) observed that only last week, MAKH leaders, Abdullahi Bodejo and Saleh Alhassan had in a chat with newsmen in Abuja declared that Fulanis must converge on Benue from November.
“The statement credited to the leadership of MAKH was suspected to have a hidden agenda to destabilize the state aimed at exterminating innocent farmers in their homelands.”
The church called on federal government to restrict the Fulani herdsmen to the far north and advised states in the north to adopt irrigation in their respective states to ensure growth of grass that would feed their cattle instead of migrating to Benue valley where they always wreak havoc.
According to the religious leader, ‘the government should note that the Benue valley land is already insufficient for indigenous farmers, let alone sharing it with Fulanis. There is therefore, no reason to think of crating grazing reserves on a land that is already insufficient for its original inhabitants, the Fulanis should be restricted to their states in the far north of Nigeria.”
The NKST President appealed to the federal government to approve the establishment of Benue State Relief Levy to be collected from all those carrying out economic activities in the state to help rehabilitate those who were displaced and have lost everything as a result of the incessant crises.
He said the church is in support of every peace move by the government to stabilize the integrity of the Benue farmer through the Anti Open Grazing Law stressing that nothing should be done to reduce its full enforcement and prosecution of defaulters as from November 1.
The church also stated that it is opposed to any agreement or resolution soliciting for the creation of grazing reserves for herdsmen in the state pointing out that the settlement pattern of the Benue people was already a militating factor.