Ayem A Kpatuma: Army Flyers Profiling Tiv As Rustlers Unacceptable

Ayem A Kpatuma: Army Flyers Profiling Tiv As Rustlers Unacceptable

Ayem A Kpatuma: Army Flyers Profiling Tiv As Rustlers Unacceptable

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From Msughshima Andrew, Makurdi

A Tiv Scio Cultural Group named Mdzough u Tiv has raised an alarm over flyers circulated by the Department of Civil Military Affairs which erroneously profiling Tiv farmers as cattle rustlers.

President General Mdzough U Tiv, Engr. Edward Ujege, in a press statement made available to newsmen in Makurdi, yesterday faulted the military for assuming that Benue people and particulatly the Tiv, were responsible for cattle rustling.

He said local crop farmers have no capability of rustling cattle saying rustling can only be undertaken by professionals in cattle rearing.

According to Engr. Ujege, it was clear from the flyer that the military has acknowledged that Fulani herdsmen were responsible for the large scale massacre and massive destruction in Benue.

He expressed worry that instead of addressing issues of justice, reparation and compensation, it seems the army was compelling Benue people to accommodate the perpetrators of the heinous atrocities in the state.

Ujege also noted that the military did not also see it necessary to make reference to the Open Grazing Prohibition and Establishment of Ranches Law 2017, which was done to address 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 seems to encourage 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.

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

“The pamphlet in Tiv language confirmed that the military had come to provide cover for armed Fulani herdsmen to take over our land,” he added.

He described as unacceptable the profiling of the Tiv people, insisting that the publication of the pamphlet in the Tiv language gave the impression that the Tiv were the target of the exercise, whereas the herdsmen attacks cut across the entire Benue State which is multi ethnic.

The President General of Mdzough U Tiv said, if the military were to be relevant in the state, they must assist in chasing away the invaders and restoring peace which could only be possible through the enforcement of the anti open grazing law.

When called to rwact on the pamphlets being circulated by yhe army, Deputy Director Army Public Relations, 707 Special Forces Brigade of the Nigerian Army Makurdi, Major Molabisi Olalekan  Ayeni, said the military was committed to ensuring peaceful coexistence of all Nigerians and among the herders and farmers.

Major Ayeni who reacted to a statement by Mdzough U Tiv over flyers issued by Department of Civil Military Affairs said the Army was not in the state for the Fulani herdsmen to disobey the Benue state Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017.

He said the Nigeria Army as a federal government agency is saddled with the responsibility of protecting the lives and property of Nigerians as well as protect the territorial integrity of Nigeria.

According to him, all that the army needed to do in the state was to ensure that no Benue resident is killed or displaced from their homes.

“Let me inform you that we had arrested some Fulani herdsmen that wanted to attack Governor Ortom’s farm in Guma and with all these success you should know that Ex Ayem Akpatuma is not in support of any group and is not in the pursuit or criticising any group.

“Our role is to make sure that Benue State is peaceful and one of the ways we are going about it is for the herders to know that either a Tiv man or an Idoma man or Igede man is a Nigerian like him and a herder who is not violent know is their brother,” he noted.

He said if the military in the course of the military exercise found a violent herdsman that want to kill or displace any person in Benue State, they will arrest him.

“So the way and manner we go in achieving a peaceful environment in Benue State especially in Guma and Logo local government areas of the state and Katsina-Ala local government is by using this psychological method to test these people that we are friends, don’t fight or pursue the other because we are one family.

“But however, if you saw anyone who want to kill you, report and we will get that person arrested” he said.



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