From Uche Nnorom Makurdi
Barely two days to the implementation of the Anti-Open Grazing Law in Benue State, a religious group, Nongo U Kristu U I Ser U Sha Tar (NKST) also known as the Reformed Christian Church has insisted that the law must take effect from November 1.
President of the Church, Rev. Ayohol Ate who made the insistence at a press conference held at the NUJ House, Makurdi, yesterday maintained that nothing should be done to reduce its full force of prosecuting defaulters of the law.
He lamented that the Tiv land had suffered a great deal of destruction of lives and property worth billions of naira since the Fulani crisis began in 2011.
Represented by Rev. Kurugh Antiev of NKST, Yina, the NKST President who condemned in strong terms what it described as ‘hate speech’ and inflammatory war language by the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, noted that only last week, MAKH leaders, Abdullahi Bodejo and Saleh Alhassan had in a chat with newsmen in Abuja declared that Fulanis must converge in Benue from November.
He averred that the statement credited to the leadership of MAKH was suspected to have a hidden agenda to destabilize the state, just as he condemned the act of exterminating innocent farmers in their homelands.
“Our attention has been drawn to the speedy unfolding security challenges being experienced by Benue people especially among the Tiv nation. The NKST is suspecting an cutie agenda to enthrone sharia in the country through jihad, especially in the north central region under the auspices of the herdsmen, he said.
The NKST President appealed to the federal government to approve the establishment of Benue State Relief Levy to be collected from all those carrying out economic activities in the state to help rehabilitate those who were displaced and have lost everything as a result of the incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
He said the church is in support of every peace move by the government to stabilize the integrity of the Benue farmer through the Anti Open Grazing Law, stressing that nothing should be done to reduce its full enforcement and prosecution of defaulters as from November 1.
The church also stated that it is opposed to any agreement or resolution soliciting for the creation of grazing reserves for herdsmen in the state pointing out that the settlement pattern of the Benue people was already a militating factor.
Responding, state Chairman of the NUJ, Kris Atsaka posited that the entire Benue had been in disarray due to the activities of suspected herdsmen and assured that the media would continue to do its best in giving the NKST adequate publicity.