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Miyetti Allah urges Ortom to treat Fulani herdsmen as Benue indigenes

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The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has called on Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State to reconsider his stance on the recently passed Anti-Open Grazing Law and treat Fulani herdsmen as indigenes of the state.

The group which made the appeal at a press conference on Thursday in Makurdi, the state capital, urged Ortom to accord their members the same treatment as citizens of the state.

The Chairman of MACBAN in the state, Alhaji Risku Mohammed, who spoke with journalists after the press conference, said the plea became necessary as the newly amended anti-open grazing law of the state meant that his members will be made to undergo untold hardship with the fine on an impounded animal jerked up from N2000 per cow to N50,000.

Mohammed said the association, as one of the stakeholders in the state, was not involved in the public hearing before the amendment of the law.

“We are bonafide citizens and indigenes of this state because we vote here. We are registered voters; we contribute to the economy of the state. Any administration coming to the state, our contributions have been there.

“We transact business and promote the dignity of the state and the country entirely.

READ ALSO: Ortom an unreliable leader who hates Fulani with passion —Miyetti Allah

“The livestock that we have is not a crime; it’s not a weapon but food that we have and also dispense to others. The whole state benefits from our livestock, so we are appealing in that order that the N50,000 fine per cattle impounded as amended is not affordable to us.

“We have no other source of livelihood; our cattle are dying. The governor should not punish our race; I mean our ethnicity because our cattle which are part of our livelihood are diminishing.

“We are human beings and we have nowhere to go. We contribute to the positive development of the state and we are appealing that the state government should consider treating us as indigenes,” Mohammed said.

He further alleged that the amendment of the law which stipulated stiffer penalties for the offenders was a subtle means of chasing Fulani herders away from the state.

“The law is not only applicable to cattle, it is for goats, pigs and also applicable to chickens. But none of these categories of animals have ever witnessed confiscation at the Government House quarantine centre and we have never also seen the indigene’s cattle confiscated.

“The law enforcers are always silent when it comes to that of indigenes. Mostly, it’s our Fulani livestock that they target; we have never witnessed goats, chickens and pigs or any other animals belonging to indigenes confiscated. Up to date, these people’s livestock roam freely and graze openly.”

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