Leaders of Benue State’s socio-cultural groups and tribal leaders have strongly opposed any Federal Government plans to build houses and settlements for Fulani herdsmen within the state’s territory.
They view the recent announcement by the Federal Government to construct 1,000 housing units in seven states, including Benue, with suspicion and resist the idea.
In a joint statement by the President-General of Mzough U Tiv, MUT, Worldwide, Iorbee Ihagh, and the President-General of Ochetoha k’Idoma, OKI, AVM Toni Adokwu (retd), these groups expressed their unwillingness to allocate land for housing Fulani herders. They emphasized that no part of Benue State would be given for the construction of settlements aimed at housing Fulani herders.
These leaders pointed out that over two million Benue indigenes who were displaced by armed herders are still living in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps across the state. They urged the Federal Government to cancel the project, which they believe is part of a broader plan to address conflicts in the northern part of the country. The proposed settlements were intended to include facilities such as schools, clinics, veterinaries, and ranches for the Fulani community.
The statement stressed that any construction in Benue State should undergo a thorough process involving all stakeholders, particularly the state government. The leaders criticized the rushed manner in which the project was planned and approved, suggesting that the idea may have been conceived and handed over to the present administration without adequate consultation or input from the state government.
The ethnic groups in Benue State have united behind Governor Hyacinth Alia’s stance not to cede any portion of the state’s land for such settlements. They called upon President Bola Tinubu to halt the project and instruct relevant agencies to initiate a resettlement and rehabilitation process for IDPs in the state to return to their ancestral homes.
Furthermore, they drew Tinubu’s attention to the dire situation in Moon Council Ward of Kwande LGA, where locals have been displaced by armed herdsmen. They urged him to promptly intervene and embrace Benue State’s ranching law to facilitate peaceful coexistence between farmers and herdsmen within the state.