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5 Feb 2018

Herdsmen are grazing cows on our relatives’ graves – Plateau residents cries out

A cultural organisation in Plateau State, Berom Youth Moulders Association, has asked the Federal Government to reclaim the 54 communities in the state which were allegedly forcefully occupied by Fulani herdsmen.

The group said the communities were sacked and “conquered” by the herdsmen between 2001 and 2018 and then renamed.

The Chairman of BYM, Choji Chuwang, stated this during a news conference in Jos on Saturday.

He noted that 93 communities had experienced one form of attack or the other since 2001, stressing that the “Fulani herdsmen graze on the grave sites of our dead brothers and sisters and even on our holy places of worship.”

The organisation also opposed the proposal for the establishment of cattle colonies, wondering if cattle  rearing had been quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange to warrant so much government interest.

Chuwang said, “It is on record that between 2001 and now, Fulani herdsmen have sacked and taken over 54 communities in Plateau State and renamed them according to their culture and language.

“This is evident in Barkin Ladi and Riyom local government areas; this we can affirm because the current herdsmen in those areas are not the ones that had lived among us previously.

“Our people have been traumatised, several killed and properties destroyed to make them flee their ancestral homes which are now being occupied by the same terrorist herdsmen.

“It is on record that 54 communities, such as Dankum (now renamed as Mahanga by Fulani), Fass (renamed as Tafawa), Janda, Hywa, Rotchun, Rakweng, Shong I and II, Diyan Hei, Pwabeduk, Sharu, Dashugu, Tagabos, Shonong, Maseh, Kampwas, She, Kak, Dajak,Rarin, Kufang, Rantis, Jong, Zim, Lukfine, Lobiring, Angio, and Kachin, among many, were completely sacked and their inhabitants displaced in Riyom and Barkin Ladi LGAs,” he explained.

While rejecting the agitation for creation of cattle colonies, Chuwang said that rearing of cattle remained a private and personal business which should be left in the hands of the herdsmen for ranching.

He said, “For us as citizens of Plateau State and especially the Northern Senatorial zone, we wish to state in unequivocal terms that we do not have land for cattle colonies.”

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