The umbrella body of herdsmen in Nigeria, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Monday, in Abuja, threatened to take legal action against the Benue State Government over the alleged illegal seizure and auctioning of cattle belonging to its members.
The socio-cultural group also said it would sue at least nine other northern state governments over the alleged diversion of billions of naira received from the Federal Government for the establishment of cattle ranches in their states.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, the Secretary-General of the group, Saleh Alhassan, noted that Kaduna, Katsina, Plateau, Niger and Nasarawa states had failed to judiciously channel funds ranging from N5 billion to N10 billion meant for the ranches.
He accused the government of these states of riding on the misery of the cattle herders to amass wealth.
Alhassan also noted that the creation of cattle ranches would drastically minimise the lingering farmer-herder clashes recorded in the concerned states.
According to him, “We’re already taking the stock, and we’re going to sue the Benue state government to pay compensation for all those stolen cattle officially, in the name of arresting cattle across the borders of Benue and Taraba state, Benue and Nasarawa state.
“Because as far as we are concerned, there is no cattle herding in Benue since Ortom put in this law.”
On ranching, he said “Nasarawa State Government has collected money for ranching, Katsina State Government has collected money for ranching, Kaduna State Government has collected money for ranching. States like Niger are also in the line of collecting money for ranching. Plateau State has collected the money for ranching.
“We are yet to see the ranches because we don’t want the state governors to use the misery and the hardship of the pastoralists to continue to divert these funds. Because we really need to address this issue of farmer-herder conflict, which we believe a sustainable land use management, which is through the ranching will be a solution for the crisis.”
He also revealed that the association would soon take legal action against the Benue state government over the seizure and auctioning of cattle, amounting to losses of billions of naira to the herders.
While displaying footage of the burning of a lorry loaded with cattle by suspected elements of the Indigenous People of Biafra, he called on security agencies to intervene before such attacks would escalate.
He said the ensuing instability from such actions could hamper the conduct of the 2023 elections.
“This attack happened Yesterday (Sunday) were carried out by IPOB because if you watch the videos which I will share with you, they are proclaiming it. They are speaking Igbo language, they are proclaiming their organisation is behind it.
“They want to make sure they chase out every Fulani man in the Southeast and destroy their cattle. On the issue of our members being part of the insecurity, let me state it without any doubt, our members are not part of the bandits.
“We are a herders organisation. If you are a bandit, you don’t have herds of cattle. You are a bandit who should be treated as a bandit.
“We will take legal actions against those perpetrating acts of violence against our people. We will also take actions against the ineptitude of the government of the day for allowing all this injustice and atrocities to be meted out on our people,” he said.