From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna
Niger State government over the weekend evicted about 200 Fulani herdsmen under tight security from the state.
The herders who arrived the state a week ago according to report, first settled in Biri forest with their cattle but were later asked to leave as the forest is a Military shooting range, therefore the herders had to leave their cattle under the care of few among them while the rest went in search of alternative place of settlement, hence the choice of Gulu village in Shiroro Local Government Area.
Gulu community members became apprehensive on sighting such number of herders planning to settle in their community therefore raised an alarm and therefore reported the matter to the authority.
Our reporter findings revealed that the state government did not only ordered for the immediate eviction of the herders from the state but also provided trucks to evacuate them back to Kaduna state, from where they relocated to Niger state.
Speaking to reporters, the North/Central zonal chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Isma’ila Rebe frowned at the government action saying that the herders are harmless and that they were forced to relocate to the state after losing their grazing land in Rijana village of Kaduna state.
He said, “They are from Rijana in Kaduna state. They had relocated to Biri in Niger state after their grazing land in Rijana was sold to members of the public. They are harmless herders.”
The Niger State governor Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu said the herders must be evicted considering the insecurity in the country, advising them that if the need for movement in such number arouse they should always liaise with their association so that government would be adequately informed.
The governor who was represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Nomadic matters, Sadiq Abubakar said contrary to the rumor, the herders were only 40 in numbers and that they are all members of one family.
He added that the state government provided four trucks (canter model) for the evacuation of the herders, the SSA who denied the presence of heavy security personnel during the evacuation said only five men each from the Nigeria police Force and State Security Service were deployed for the exercise.