A community leader in Kogi State Prince Alhassan Ejike has warned Governor Yahaya Bello not to venture into the establishment of cattle colonies in any part of the State.
Prince Ejike stated this in an interactive session with newsmen in Lokoja on Thursday.
Ejike was reacting to the governor’s insistence on keying into cattle colony proposal of the Federal Government as a solution to the reoccurring clashes between Fulani Herdsmen and farmers.
He said Kogi State doesn’t belong to the governor, adding that Governor Bello must thread softly to avoid any looming disaster that will follow such an open invitation of herdsmen.
“You are not the owner of Kogi and you cannot allocate a land that doesn’t belong to you to foreigners,” he noted.
He also took a swipe at President Buhari who he described as a total failure for not speaking out against the killings in Benue and Taraba States.
In a related development, a group known as ‘Project Igala’ which consists of people from Kogi-East and cutting across nine LGAs namely Ankpa, Bassa, Dekina, Ibaji, Idah, Igalamela/Odolu, Ofu, Olamaboro and Omala LGAs has dissociated themselves from the purported plan to situate any cattle colony in their land.
The group in a Petition written to President Muhammadu Buhari, said the move by the Governor to establish cattle colony in the Eastern part of Kogi State will not be accepted by the Igala people.
The petition reads in part, “We wish to state that our vehement opposition to this move is predicated on the fact that it will eventually lead to breakdown of law and order with killings and wanton destruction of property, as our people, who are largely farmers, are not prepared to host Fulani herdsmen or cattle colony masters in our land.
“Our position is further reinforced by the multiple acts of war and mayhem being unleashed daily, on our innocent farmers and hapless law-abiding citizens, in their villages, homes and farm lands, by rampaging Fulani herdsmen.
“Mr. President, between June 2015 and December 2017, Igala land has witnessed several incidences of killings as a result of herdsmen violence in several areas including Ebeje where 8 people were killed and farms set ablaze, Agbada/Agojeju where 19 people were slaughtered, Edede – 2 persons were killed, 6 people killed in Oganenigu, 3 people killed in Ojapata, 5 people killed in Ojuwo Anawo. All these happened in Dekina Local Government Area.
“The story is not different in Ofu local government area at Ojuwo Omachi and Akpagidigbo where the incessant attacks of herdsmen have claimed the lives of over 20 persons. In Abejukolo and Bagana in Omala Local Government Area, the reign of terror resonates loudly, so much that our people no longer move freely, to and from their farm lands, because of the fear of killings, maiming and rape, with some villages like Ebakume wholly sacked and entire farm produce granaries/silos completely burnt.
“Despite the brazen nature of the aforementioned acts of criminality by these would-be occupants of the so-called cattle colony, none of them has been arrested or made to account for these crimes, as these heavily armed cattle herders terrorise our land, flaunting their prowess in the handling of AK 47 rifles and double barrel guns.
“Dear Mr President, our opposition to this move and the hasty approval given by the Kogi State Governor is further reinforced by the inescapable fact that under your Presidency, murderous Fulani herdsmen have enjoyed subtle protection and favouritism to the extent that these herdsmen, who now treat Nigeria as a conquered territory, will eventually go beyond the purview of the so-called colony to destroy farmlands, maim and kill under the slightest provocation.
“We do not want cattle colony or grazing reserve in our land. We reject any attempt to convert or transfer the ownership of ancestral lands in Igala land to cattle colony master or owners who operate by killing people, destroying communities wholesale, and destroying farmlands while enjoying government protection from counter attack, arrest or prosecution.We reject attempts to turn Igala land into the next killing field of marauding Fulani herdsmen”.
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