By; BUHARI B. BELLO, Jos
Worried by what it called “a selective treatment“ in the handling of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Benue State by the Federal Government, Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria (GAFDAN) has kicked against the approval of the sun of I0 billion for the rebuilding of destroyed settlements in the state.
A press statement signed by the National Chairman of the association, Alhaji Sale Bayari and made available, lamented over the development.
“Since it takes two to tango, it is the position of this association that the side of the innocent herdsmen that lost over 2,500 herds of cattle should also be looked into with a view to assisting them too, especially those that were caught in the cross fire crisis between the farmers and the herdsmen since the enactment of the anti-grazing law on November 1, 2017“.
The group believes that if the Federal Government assistance is given to only one side (farmers), it could send the wrong signal that the Fulanis have already been accused, tried and sentenced by the Federal Government and are being singled out and punished.
According to the group, they are not aware of any investigative panel or body that was established and found the herdsmen as being responsible for the crimes committed.
“What we know is that hundreds of thousands of our members cows were confiscated, rustled, killed or maimed by the tribal militants and livestock guards established by the grazing law“
The group added that the reports of their disposal “shows that those cattle that belonged to the innocent Fulani rearers who have nothing to live on and are likely to resort to all desperate means in order to survive, having lost irretrievably, their only means of survival“.
They said that the other neglected family may be hurt and decide to be uncooperative .
According to GAFDAN, the Federal Government must be fair and just to all, adding that there must be no Victor and no vanquished in the crisis.
To restore peace, love and tranquillity in the land, the group called on the Federal Government to include the herdsmen in its programme of humanitarian assistance.
They contended that the mere fact that Fulani are not in the Benue State IDPs camp does not mean that they have not lost their homes or livelihood in the crisis.
“To put to an end to this national tragedy, efforts must be made by the Federal Government and all well meaning Nigerians to treat this conflict as a family affair and not one of an enemy group against another “