By Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi
Jos — The Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria (GAFDAN) says it welcomes the announcement by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo that the Federal Government had approved N10 billion for the rebuilding of farmers’ settlements in Benue State. The number two citizen gave the hint during his visit of Abagena, Daub internally displaced persons’ camp (IDP) in Makurdi.
The national chairman, Alhaji Sale Bayari, in a statement yesterday in Jos, insisted that since it takes two to tango, it was the position of the association that the “side of the innocent herdsmen that lost over 2,500 cattle should also be looked into with a view to assisting them too, especially those that were caught in the cross-fire between the farmers and the herdsmen since the enactment of the anti-grazing law on November 1, 2017.”
He went on: “The GAFDAN believes that if the Federal Government assistance is given only to one side (farmers), it could send the wrong signal that the herdsmen have already been accused, tried and sentenced by the government and are being collectively singled out for punishment. So far, we are not aware of an investigative panel or body that found the entirety of the herdsmen as responsible for the crimes committed against anybody.”
“What we do know is that hundreds or thousands of our members’ cows were confiscated, rustled, killed and/or vandalised by tribal militants and livestock guards established by the grazing law. Reports at our disposal show that these cattle belong to innocent Fulani rearers who have nothing to live on and are likely to resort to all desperate means in order to survive, having lost irretrievably, their only means of survival, cattle rearing.”
Bayari said the society was “at great risk when government only addresses a problem selectively, thereby giving the impression that it is a father to only one family. The other neglected family may be hurt and decide to be uncooperative. In the unfortunate situation, like the one we have in Benue State, the government must be fair and just to all so that there must be no victor and no vanquished situation.”