Thursday, 22 February 2018


We wish to express our profound displeasure at the emerging trends of the military operation tagged Ayem a kpatuma.

The general public may recall our initial apprehension about the real mission of troops deployed to Benue state.

True to our predictions, the flag off of the exercise yesterday confirmed our fears. A pamphlet circulated by the Nigerian Army has defined the real intention of the military in Benue state.

The pamphlet confirmed that the military had come to provide cover for armed Fulani herdsmen to take over our land.

Here is a translation of the message on the flyer which had a picture of a farmer and a herder conversing.

Fulani herder:  I'm your brother, I move with cattle which are as important as your farm produce.
Tiv farmer: I'm your brother and a farmer; my farm produce is just as important as your cattle.
Fulani herder: I will no longer destroy your farm produce and longer kill your people. You are my brother, we should live in peace.
Tiv farmer: I too will no longer rustle or kill your cattle. You are my brother, let us live in peace.

The message in the flyer which is issued by the Department of Civil Military Affairs, Army Headquarters underscores basic assumptions and erroneous impressions.

It is clear from the flyer that the military has acknowledged that the Fulani herdsmen are responsible for the large scale massacre and massive destruction in our land.

Yet, without addressing issues of justice, reparation and compensation, they are compelling Benue people to accommodate the perpetrators of the heinous atrocities.

Moreover, there is no reference to the Open Grazing Prohibition and Establishment of Ranches Law 2017, which addresses the fundamental issues of making both the farmers and the herders to coexist in peace.
The military is not only silent on the law, but has encouraged open grazing with all its concomitant consequences.

This silence on the law points to the fact that they are not in its support and are not ready to ensure its enforcement.
The military has also assumed very wrongly that Benue people are responsible for cattle rustling which is not the case as rustling can only be undertaken by professionals in cattle rearing.

It is basic knowledge that only herdsmen engage in that business.

From the pamphlet's message, it is clear that the military exercise in Benue State is to provide cover for herdsmen to take over the land.
This is unacceptable.

If the military are to be relevant in the state, they must assist in chasing away the invaders and restoring peace which can only be possible through the enforcement of the anti open grazing law.

The publication of the pamphlet in the Tiv language gives the impression that the Tiv are the target of the exercise, whereas the herdsmen attacks cut across the entire Benue State which is multi ethnic.

This profiling of the Tiv people is also unacceptable.

Engr. Edward Ujege,
President General
Mdzough u Tiv
February 21, 2018

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