Elders of three major tribes claimed this week that more 500 people have are still missing and half a million have been displaced as a result of persistent attacks by Islamist Fulani cattle herders.
President General of Mdzough U Tiv, Chief Edward Ujege, addressed the media in response to a press conference by the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, an Islamic pressure group and the association under which the Fulani herders have protection which condemned the Benue Open Grazing Prohibition Law that stopped any open grazing by the herders so as to prevent clashes and conflicts between the Christian farming communities and the Islamic herders.
Ujege explained that the anti-grazing law, which came into effect early November, was necessary to stop the horrendous massive killings, destruction villages and property and raping of women and children perpetrated by the Islamist herdsmen in the state.
“From 2013 to 2016, over 500 persons are still missing while over 500,000 people were displaced and the future of almost a million youths truncated”, he said.
“Over 9,000 households were affected and over 2,000 killed in various attacks carried out by herdsmen while properties worth over N95billion were destroyed in 2014 alone.
“This struggle therefore is for the emancipation of our people from slave drivers and preservation of lives and property as well as freedom from suppression which our people have suffered over the years,” he said.
Ujege said 14 of the 23 local government areas of the state have suffered over 40 different attacks. “We paid dearly for the atrocities of the herdsmen with over 2,000 lives of our men, women and children … the future of almost a million youths are truncated.” noting that in 2014 alone, hundreds of millions of pounds worth of properties were destroyed.
The anti-grazing law has also be enacted by the Taraba State government, northeaster Nigeria and both the Adamawa and plateau State governments are making moves to do same in order to stop the protracted conflicts and destruction of lives and property.
On 9 November, seven Christians were killed, by the Fulani herders men, on their way back from a market in Plateau State, a predominantly Christian State, which has also suffered persistent Muslim Fulani attacks.
Hassan Joh is West Africa Editor, GCN and Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos
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