The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) says it lost “over two million cows and over one thousand” Fulani to attacks orchestrated by the Benue state government.
Fulani herdsmen are alleged to have killed over 100 persons in recent attacks carried out in Benue and Taraba states.
Reacting to the development on Sunday, the group said the current crisis is fuelled by the “draconian laws put in place by some state governments with the singular aim of chasing our people out of the states simply for ethnic hatred”.
Baba Ngeljarma, MACBAN national secretary, said: “The anti-open-grazing law in Benue, Taraba and other states is nothing more than a symbol of intolerance and do not in any way intend to solve the farmers/grazers conflict as the livestock breeders interest is neither captured in the law nor in its implementation mechanism.”
He said over the years, hundreds of its members have come under unjustified attacks in various states.
Ngeljarma said “some state governments are sponsoring ethnic militia against our people, recruiting and arming locals to kill our people and rustle their livestock as seen recently in Benue and Taraba states.
“Two days ago, the media was awash with the story of Tiv militia gang arrested in Taraba state by the Army who confessed that over 1000 of them were recruited and dangerously armed by the Benue state government to kill the Fulani herdsmen.
“No doubt the activities of these criminal gangs are putting our people in unbearable pains as they operate with the greatest impunity under the protection of the state government.
“Only very recently we have lost over 1000 people including children, women and the aged and over 2 million cattle to this gang. We are more disturbed today as this state government hides under the self created crises and blackmailing the federal government into releasing to them security operatives to achieve their illegal and wicked agenda on our people.”
“The trend of attacks on our defenceless members by ethnic militias oiled by a deliberate profiling through coordinated media campaigns against our members, to say the least, is the worst crime against humanity.
“What started as communal clashes has since metamorphosed into a coordinated operation to exterminate our people. From the killings in Plateau state, to southern Kaduna to Benue, Taraba and Adamawa among others the story is only worsening by the day.”
The group said after reviewing the current crisis, it recommends that compensation should be paid “to the victims of all crises to reduce their level of suffering”.