There will be opposition to any Federal Government plan to construct housing and communities for Fulani herders in Benue State, according to the heads of several socio-cultural organizations and tribal elders in the state.
The governor and other state leaders have stated that they do not appreciate the Federal Government’s recent statement that it plans to construct 1,000 housing units in seven states, including Benue.
Iorbee Ihagh, President General of Mzough U Tiv, MUT, Worldwide, and AVM Toni Adokwu (retd), President General of Ochetoha k’Idoma, OKI, issued a joint statement in which they vowed that no area of the state would be given over to the building of houses and colonies for Fulani herders.
Over two million native Benueans remain in IDP camps across the state after being forced from their homes by armed herders, and the state’s leaders have urged the federal government to cancel a project that would provide schools, clinics, veterinary clinics, and ranches to the Fulani people as part of a larger plan to address conflicts in the region’s north.
They decried the hurriedness with which the project was designed and approved, saying that the planning and construction of such a facility in Benue State would go through a process that would involve the inputs of all stakeholders, particularly the state government.
The statement questioned the speed with which the project cleared all the obstacles and was even billed for implementation, noting that the signal they are getting is that the idea may have been conceived, hatched, packaged, and handed over to the present administration for implementation.
According to the report, the various ethnic groups in the state have united behind Governor Hyacinth Alia on the issue of not allowing the Federal Government or anybody else to use state land to construct new communities for their perceived oppressors.
The leaders demanded that President Bola Tinubu cancel the project and order the appropriate agencies to begin resettling and rehabilitating the state’s internally displaced persons so they can return to their places of origin.
They called Tinubu’s attention to the situation in the Moon Council Ward of Kwande LGA, where the locals had been sacked and their homes occupied by armed herdsmen, and urged him to intervene immediately and support the Benue State ranching law to ensure peaceful coexistence between farmers and herdsmen in the state.