Fulani Herdsmen Set Up Encampment In Benue Preparatory For A Showdown With The State Government Over The Anti-Open Grazing Law

As the five months moratorium before the enforcement of the Open Grazing Prohibition And Ranches Establishment Law Of Benue 2017 kicks in is coming to an end, there appears to be a mass movement of Fulani herdsmen into Benue with their encampment sighted in various parts of the state.  It is speculated that such mass movement is orchestrated by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria to force a showdown with the state Government over the Law.

Read William Ukor narration of  one such encampment in Taki Village in Markudi Local Government of Benue State: 

Orvesen Nat Apir and I have just returned from Taki village; Makurdi local govt, where over two hundred Fulani herdsmen and their families suddenly arrived with herds of cattle and bused themselves constructing tents-in which they now live.. AGAINST THE WISH OF THE VILLAGERS. They have two large settlements spaced about 750 metres apart.

DAMAGE: five villagers have had their combined maize and guinea corn farms of over 500 lines each completely destroyed. For the five families, hunger beckons.

The people of Taki are just beginning to settle down, having been attacked severally by Fulani herdsmen. In the first attack of 2011, which took them unaware, seven women were killed as they prepared food for their men who were on the farm. The village, quite large, looks desolate, with round huts hurriedly roofed mainly with sesame (beniseed) stalks. This is their second year home since 2011. According to the villagers, more Fulanis are arriving to join those already there on a daily basis.

On our way back, one of the Fulani men who saw us taking pictures of their herds of cattle and tents followed us from Andoli till we reached Zongo Akiki near NASME. He had overtaken us at a point and waited at Zongo until we passed towards NASME. He probably rode back to his settlement-as we did not see him again.

From all indications, Fulanis have decided to snub the anti open grazing law and so are deliberately moving their herdsmen to Benue to provoke another round of crisis.

The picture below is that of one of the settlements near Taki; close to the road, we took. More pictures from Nat Apir will give “bitter” insight into what these Fulanis have done and are still doing to the people of Taki.

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