The three major socio-cultural groups in Benue State on Thursday ordered herdsmen in the state to relocate to their home states to enable farmers resume agricultural activities without any fear of further attack.
They made their feelings known during a courtesy call on the Speaker of the state assembly, Hon Terkimbi Ikyange, at the assembly complex in Makurdi.
The socio-cultural groups namely: Mzough U Tiv, representing the Tiv’s; Idoma National Forum for the Idoma nation and Omi Ny’ Igede representing the Igede were led by their Presidents-General, Mr Edward Ujege, Okopi Momoh and Mr Odeh Enyi, respectively.
The groups said incessant attacks on their people had hampered agricultural activities in the area greatly, saying as a result, most people have deserted their villages and are seeking refuge in other places.
The President General stressed that now that the raining season was on, there is serious need for the herdsmen to return to their places to enable farmers embark on farming in order to avoid throwing the state into severe famine. He called on Benue people to desist from consuming beef which was the major reason why the herdsmen cash on to eliminate them in order to take charge of their fertile lands.
‘’Since cattle are at the centre of these dastardly acts and are seen to be superior to our lives, we have resolved to desist from consuming beef or cow milk as an economic sanction and moral responsibility’’, he said.
He further appealed to the assembly to urgently enact laws that would criminalise open grazing which conflicts with the main source of their livelihood.
Responding, the Speaker assured the groups of timely consideration of a bill that would be geared towards discouraging grazing routes and reserves but would encourage establishment of ranches for the overall benefit of the people.