Any federal government proposal to construct homes and communities for Fulani herders in any area of the state, according to the sociocultural group and tribal elders of Benue State, would be rejected.
The leaders said that the federal government’s recent declaration of its plan to construct 1,000 housing units in seven states, including Benue, reeked of mischief and would not be welcomed in the state.
The leaders of the two organisations, Iorbee Ihagh, President-General of Mzough U Tiv, Worldwide, and AVM Toni Adokwu (retd), President-General of Ochetoha k’Idoma, declared that no state land would be ceded in order to build homes and colonies for Fulani herders.
The project, which the leaders claimed was a part of a larger plan to address conflicts in the north of the country and would have facilities like schools, clinics, veterinaries, and ranches for the Fulani community, was cancelled in light of the fact that over two million Benue natives still live in Internally Displaced Persons, or IDPs, camps dispersed across the state.
They bemoaned the quick manner in which the project was conceived and subsequently authorised and stated that the development of such a facility in Benue State would go through a procedure that would involve the participation of all stakeholders, including the state government.
The statement questioned the hasty way in which the project scaled through all the hurdles and even billed for implementation, without the state government getting a whiff of the idea from its conception, and noted that they are getting the impression that the idea may have been conceived, hatched, packaged, and given to the current administration for implementation.
According to the report, the state’s ethnic groups have vowed to stand with Governor Hyacinth Alia and refuse to transfer any land to anyone—not even the federal government—so that “oppressors” can establish communities there.
The leaders urged President Bola Tinubu to halt the project and order the concerned organisations to start a resettlement and rehabilitation process for internally displaced people (IDPs) in the state to return to their ancestral homes.
In order to ensure peaceful coexistence between farmers and herdsmen in the state, they called Tinubu’s attention to the situation in Moon Council Ward of Kwande LGA, where the locals had been sacked and their homes had been occupied by armed herdsmen. They pleaded with him to act quickly and support the ranching law of Benue State.