Monday, 3 April 2017

Mdzough U Tiv Condemns Killings

A benue State socio-cultural organisation, Mdzough U Tiv, also known as Mutual Union of Tiv (MUT), Lagos State chapter, has condemned killings in the state, allegedly perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen.

At a news conference in Ikeja, Lagos, the group urged the Federal Government to live up to its constitutional responsibility of protecting citizens.

In a statement by the Chairman, Prince Aondowase Kajo, MUT lamented that Tiv land “is under the siege of ferocious invaders.”

Kajo said between 2013 and 2016, about 1,878 persons, including children, were killed in 12 local governments, while 99,427 households were affected.

“This year, the casualty rate has risen by about 60 per cent.”
The statement reads: “Our common security concern in the Benue valley, for long, has been the menace of Fulani herdsmen. They constitute 70 per cent of security challenges.

“We are perturbed by these ceaseless and unprovoked killings of our people, and the Tiv community in Lagos calls on the Federal Government to take a decisive action to end this pogrom against our helpless people in Benue and other parts of the country.

“We believe the Federal Government is capable of protecting us. This is why our youths have heeded the plea of Governor Samuel Ortom not to take the law into their hands.

“But if these killings continue, with the lukewarm attitude of the Federal Government and the unpatriotic and unprofessional conduct of security officers deployed in the affected communities, we will have no choice but to resort to the first law of nature – self-defence. We will take the war to the doorsteps of those displacing us from our ancestral homes.

“The Federal Government must protect us and stop paying lip service to our plight, or we will protect ourselves. We cannot continue dying on our farms for cattle to graze. We demand our right to live in Nigeria; we demand our right to life in Nigeria; we demand our right to be safe in Nigeria. Tiv people must live and be safe in their fatherland. We need to be alive first before being patriotic.”

The group reiterated its stand that no land in Benue is free for grazing or ranching.
“Cattle rearing is a private business, just like crop farming. Since these two cannot co-habit, just like Governor Ortom said “farming and cattle rearing are incompatible”, we advise cattle owners, who are mainly Fulani, to go back to their states and graze or ranch their cattle. They should not destroy our source of livelihood.

“The government should not seize poor farmers’ land and cede same to powerful Nigerians to rear their livestock. We advise that the uninhabited Sambisa forest be turned into a national grazing reserve for herdsmen,” the statement said.

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