A funeral and mass burial will be conducted for more than 50 people killed on New Year’s Day in Logo and Guma local councils of Benue State, central Nigeria, by Islamist Fulani cattle herders in Markurdi, after a church service at the IBB Square.
The mass burial will take place on Thursday 11 January following three days of mourning called by State Governor, Samuel Ortom.
The National Coordinator of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Garus Gololo, has said that the attack by the Fulani that killed over 50 people, was a vengeance for 1000 cattle rustled by the communities.
The Benue state commissioner for agriculture, Anbua, dismissing the absurdity of the claim said: “That is a mere propaganda. If you see 1000 cows rustled and kept in a place, you will marvel. The man is a liar, he is just trying to cover the sins they have done to the people.”
He called for the arrest of Gololo.
In a reversal from its ranching policy which had become highly controversial and unpopular, the Federal Government said “We are planning a programme called cattle colonies, not ranches, but colonies where at least 5,000 hectares of land will be made available, adequate water, adequate pasture will be made available. We also want to stop cattle rearers from roaming about. The culture of cattle roaming about will be stopped. The cattle will be provided with water and adequate security by the rangers, adequate pasture milk collection even security against rustlers to enable them lead a normal life. This has been done elsewhere in India, Ethiopia and even Brazil,” said the Minister for Agriculture, Audu Ogbe.
Hassan John is West Africa Editor, GCN and Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos.