We read an interview credited to the National President of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Abdullahi Belo Bodejo, in The Sun newspaper of Saturday, 24th March, 2018, in which he called for a declaration of state of emergency in Benue and Plateau States on account of crises between farmers and herdsmen.
The call is unrealistic, untenable and unacceptable because many other states across the six geopolitical zones of the country have been affected by similar crisis sometimes at a greater magnitude than the two states yet the call does not include them.
Incidentally, what Benue and Taraba States have in common is the enactment and implementation of ranches laws which prohibit open grazing.
These laws were made to curb incessant clashes between farmers and herders that had taken a huge toll on human lives and property in the two states in accordance with the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended.
Calling for a declaration of a state of emergency in the two states would be tantamount to punishing these states that have performed their legitimate constitutional responsibility of enacting laws for good governance.
Moreover, it will be recalled that Bodejo in company of the Secretary General of his association, Engr. Saleh Alhassan, announced at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, 30th May, 2017, that they would mobilize their kith and kin across the world to invade Benue State to drive away the inhabitants and take over for cattle to graze freely.
Six months later, the Association commenced the execution of their threat by invading communities in Benue State, killing hundreds and occupying lands left behind by displaced people.
The responsibility of the police and other law enforcement agencies is the arrest of these Fulani leaders and their prosecution as they were reported for threatening to undermine the peace of the state.
Someone like Bodejo and his colleague should be in the dock standing trial for sponsorship of murders and leading a terrorist organization.
The Benue State Government restates its call for the declaration of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore as a terrorist organization as well as the arrest and prosecution of their leaders for terrorism.
The heaping of blame on Governor Samuel Ortom for the enactment of the ranches law is unfortunate and misplaced as the law is not his personal property but the collective decision of the people of the state as reflected in the decision of the House of Assembly on the matter.
Attributing the enactment of the law to non-payment of salaries is also untenable as several states with salary payment challenges have not resorted to the enactment of a similar law.
Still in Benue State far reaching steps have been taken to regularize the payment of salaries with effect from January, 2018.
The Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017 has been made to provide a permanent solution to the incessant clashes between farmers and herders and no amount of hate speeches or other lawless acts can stop its implementation in Benue State.