NIGERIA: Fulani group reveals root cause of Benue Massacre

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Continued killings in some parts of Nigerian states have raised an eyebrow to look into that root causes, particularly, Benue Massacre.

A section of the Fulani community has blamed the Benue State Government on the endless killings in the State which have left many people dead and millions of properties destroyed.

The Fulani Group, Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria (GAFDAN) said the enactment of the anti-open grazing law initiated by Governor Samuel Ortom had a serious effect on peace in the state.

“The law is draconian, repressive and peace breaching in nature,” it said.

GAFDAN also alleged that the law had put the economic lives of the Fulani population in Benue State and Nigeria at large at serious risk.

In a statement yesterday by its National Secretary, Saleh Bayeri, the Fulani group condemned “the enactment of draconian, repressive and peace breaching laws targeted at the means of livelihood of over 18 million Fulani herdsmen in the country”.

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It added: “The Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria (GAFDAN) is appealing to the federal government and the National Assembly to immediately set up a high powered committee to look at the deadly farmers and herdsmen clashes in the country which has the capacity of causing a national security crisis.

“The association, which rose from a national meeting held in Jos under the office of the national secretary and member, Board of Trustees, Alhaji Saleh Bayeri, condemns the enactment of draconian, repressive and Peace-breaching laws targeted at means and livelihood of over 18 million Fulani herdsmen in the country, without regard to the consequences of such oppressive law to the corporate existence of the country.

“The leader of the Association condemns the level of lawlessness which led to the death of scores of farmers and herders in Benue State, following the clash between livestock guards, farmers and herdsmen in the state during efforts to enforce the November 1, 2017, anti-open grazing law in the state on Tuesday.

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“The meeting observed the relative peace in Taraba State despite the alleged killing of over 900 herdsmen on the Mambilla Plateau of Sardauna Local Government Area of the State between 17th and 23rd June 2017 due to the legal intervention by the Association by employing the services of Prof. Yusuf Dankofa who filed a suit against the Taraba state government and the Federal Government at the ECOWAS court and the international criminal court of Justice at The Hague respectively seeking justice for the victims.

“The Association also filed another lawsuit challenging the Taraba State House of Assembly and the state government on the enactment and signing into law the Taraba State Anti-open grazing law. This, the GAFDAN did to discourage people from taking laws into their hands for self-help like what is happening today in Benue State. As a law-abiding Association, we shall always operate within the ambit of the law and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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“We hereby call for a cessation of hostilities in Benue State between the Benue State government, the farmers and the herdsmen forthwith while amicable and long-lasting solutions are being sought at a national level over this unnecessary bloodletting confrontation and the crisis that has the capacity of radicalizing both the farmers and the herdsmen which may result into an insurgency and resistance with the consequence total breakdown of law and order in the country.”

The group, however, urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to investigate the killings.

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