Heritage Reporter

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FG’s directive on lands: Disregard, defy reckless directive, Middle Belt Group tells Belt region leaders

Political leaders, monarchs and youth/community leaders of the Middle Belt region have been warned to outrightly disregard and defy the Federal Government’s request for states to release lands to cattle  herders for grazing.

 

A group, the Middle Belt Patriots, warned in a statement on Saturday.

The group in the statement signed by its Director of Media and Strategic Communications, Steven Kefas, said the security situation would be worsened if the governors yield to the demands of the Federal Government.

The statement said: “We of the Middle Belt Patriots vehemently condemn and reject the recent directive from the Federal Government asking state governors to make land available for grazing by herdsmen.

“This provocative and ill-advised order shows a shocking disregard for the already tenuous security situation in the Middle Belt region that has been under sustained violent attack by armed Fulani ethnic militias.

“We sternly warn the political leaders, monarchs and youth/community leaders of the Middle Belt region – Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa, Niger, Kwara, Kogi, and sections of Taraba, Adamawa, Bauchi, Southern Kaduna and Gombe- to outright disregard and defy this reckless federal directive.

“Capitulating to these demands and ceding more land for grazers will only fan the flames of the ethnic clashes, further the genocidal massacres, escalate the violent displacement of indigenes from their ancestral lands and jeopardise the fragile peace in a region that has already suffered immensely.

“The grazing of cattle is a private business enterprise; it leaves more questions than answers as to why the Federal Government is deliberate on arrogating farmlands to themselves to be handed over to private herders?

“We forcefully remind the authorities in Abuja that pig farmers in the core northern Sharia states like Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Kebbi, Jigawa and Sokoto have to struggle, invest and acquire land for their vocations without any such unconstitutional government directives.

“The same should apply to the cattle herders – if they need land for their trade, they should approach willing farmers and residents to lease or purchase lands for grazing through legitimate means. No farmer or landowner should be forcibly dispossessed of their property.

“We deplore how the Federal Government constantly panders to the interests of the pastoralists at the detriment and displacement of the indigenous populations whose lands and lives are being overrun by the armed ethnic militias affiliated with the herders.”

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