By Charles Nwabardi
As the September 1, 2021 deadline set aside by Southern governors for the banning of open grazing draws nearer, herders said they will not recognise such policy, describing it as satanic.
Herders, through their socio-cultural group, Miyetti Allah Kauta Hore, said the planned policy had been overtaken by events, even as they declared that the group was in support of the federal government’s plan to revive grazing reserves, grazing routes and facilitate ranching in all the states.
Recall that in May this year, another herder group, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) had supported Southern governors’ ban on open grazing, even going ahead to challenge Northern governors to follow the lead of the Southern counterparts.
But speaking on Sunday, the national secretary of the Miyetti Allah Kauta Hore, Saleh Alhassan, said the members would not recognise any anti-open grazing policy in the country.
“We don’t recognise anti-grazing law. Nobody can do anti-grazing policy in Nigeria where we are constitutionally guaranteed the right of movement and occupation,” Alhassan said, referring to the September 1 deadline set up by the Southern governors to ban the ancient practice of raising cattle.
“I think that (open grazing) has been overtaken by events where the federal government is reviving the grazing reserves and grazing routes. Ranches are coming up across the states. Any policy that will heat up the polity, I don’t think is desirable for the country now.
“I think they are just beating a dead horse. After all, how many grazing reserves do we have in Southern Nigeria. Ninety percent of the cows we have in Southern Nigeria are meant for business. They are not there for grazing. The cattle are taken there for two or three weeks before they take them to the market. We don’t even understand what they mean by anti-open grazing,” Alhassan said, describing it as devilish.
“That thing is Satanic,” Alhassan said of the anti-open grazing policy. “That kind of policy is Satanic. Anything of Satan cannot prevail over light. They will fail.”
Alhassan threatened the governors over their 2023 political plans of a power shift to the South, declaring they would not get their wish.
“The power that they are looking for, they will not get. We have reported them to almighty Allah to create confusion in the camp of the enemy. And confusion will be their lot. Where is Sunday Igboho? Where is Nnamdi Kanu today? They are all in jail. The God of the pastoralists is protecting them like the God of Elijah that speaks with fire; he has fired all of them.
“They can’t win. They are losers. It is a negative policy. We are supporting the federal government now to revive the grazing reserves, to revive the grazing routes, do ranches, settle the herders over time. Is that what they don’t want? Then they are the real bandits. If you are looking for a real bandit, it is Governor Ortom (of Benue State). He is the real bandit. And he thinks he can fight the Fulani ethnic nationality. He does not know that we are not only in Nigeria. We are an African tribe.
“We are in charge of the United Nations. The pioneer secretary of the African Union is a Fulani herder. What is Ortom talking about? They better play politics that can unite this country. All these things they are saying, they can’t do anything as far as Nigeria is concerned.
“We are in our country, we are not going anywhere. We will not be intimidated by anybody and we are peace loving. It’s their own cup of tea. After all, they are the consumers of the cows,” Alhassan said, adding that the plans of the governors had failed.
“Their plans have already failed. See Sunday Igboho there; he is languishing in Beninoise prison. See Nnamdi Kanu who was captured in Kenya. Forget about them. They are the ones sponsoring all these killings. It is the handiwork of Biafra. They want to set the country on fire.”
He went on to threaten Governor Ortom with arrest after his tenure as governor.
“These people know what they are doing. They are just there to steal money, especially Governor Ortom. He is there to steal the money of Benue State. And we are waiting for him. Immediately he leaves power, if EFCC does not arrest him, our vigilante will arrest him and hand him over to the Nigeria Police to be prosecuted like a common criminal. It’s just a matter of time. He will certainly join Dariye and others because he has eaten security votes in billions and he has masterminded the killing of innocent people in Benue State and has lied to the entire world,” Alhassan said.
A source at the Southern Governors’ Forum, who does not want his name mentioned, informed our correspondent that there was nothing to react to about the threat to their members by Myetti Allah.
According to him, “For now, what are you expecting us to react to? No reaction at all. No governor would like to react to such. Let them wait till September 1 whether we are going to enforce it or not. For now, flexing muscles with them or reacting to their threat now will belittle our position as governors of our respective states.
“We don’t need to exchange words with them now. When it is September 1, we will now know who is in charge of our respective states.”
Meanwhile, Governor Samuel Ortom has said that the narrative by the presidency that his position on the state of the nation amounts to preaching genocide in the country does not make sense.
This is even as governor said no matter how the presidency tries to blackmail him, Nigerians are more aware of who is promoting genocide in the country.
He said it is rather the federal government, through the presidency, that is promoting genocide by deliberately nicknaming Fulani militia killers across the country as bandits in order to hide their identity, stressing that doing so would only aggravate killings and food insecurity.
Governor Ortom, who made this known in Gboko during the closing ceremony of prayer, praises and thanksgiving for God to address the challenges confronting the Tiv nation and Nigeria in general, said the six-day prayers will not be in vain, adding that God would cause a remarkable thing to happen in Tiv land, Benue and Nigeria as a whole.
He stated that frantic efforts must be made by the presidency to reengineer Nigeria’s security architecture in order to stop the genocide and as well guarantee human and food security in Nigeria.
Also speaking, the Tor Tiv, Ochivirigh Professor James Ayatse warned that any of his subjects that partakes in the shedding of Tiv blood would not prosper.
The paramount ruler also prayed that under his kingship, God would raise a Tiv man to become the president of Nigeria.
The monarch, who expressed delight at the success of the event, urged churches in Tiv land to set aside a day monthly to pray, praise and thank God on behalf of the Tiv nation.