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Published On: Mon, Feb 24th, 2014

Tiv/Fulani clashes: Police deploy 5000 officers to Benue

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…Herdsmen not criminals – Leader

From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi & Ibrahim Sidi Muh’d, Gusau

Over 5000 police officers have been deployed to Benue State by the Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Abubakar to quell the incessant clash between Tiv farmers and Fulani herdsmen.

This is just as the leader of Fulani community in Zuru, Kebbi state, Ardo Muhammad Kiruwa has denied insinuations that, Fulani herdsmen were involved in the incessant cattle rustling and armed robbery in some part of northern states.

But the IGP, speaking through DIG Michael Zuokumor at the weekend said the deployment of police officers followed a passionate appeal by the State Governor Gabriel Suswam who had decried the attack on the home of Tor Tiv Dr. Alfred Akawe Torkula by persons suspected to be Fulani herdsmen who numbered over 100.

Zuokumor said the police is equal to the task in stopping the constant clashes and enhance peaceful co-existence between the two parties, adding that the IGP had consultations with government of Benue State including major security stakeholders in the crisis, security agencies in the State as well as critical incident management meeting with top police officers and resolved to carry out operation within the ambits of the law and in accordance with democratic principles.

He urged the parties to lay down their arms, embrace peace and dialogue as a way of resolving the crisis, just as he called on residents of the areas where the crisis are intense not to take laws into their hands as government, police and other security agencies are capable of settling the feud.

Meanwhile, Ardo Muhammad Kiruwa, the leader of Fulani community in Zuru of Kebbi state, who is also a zonal Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers {NURTW}, North-west zone told newsmen yesterday in Gusau, Zamfara state capital that most of the herdsmen were illiterate and could not defend themselves on the accusations, the situation that paves way to believing they were criminals in that aspect.

He cited an illegal use of constitutionally reserved cattle rearing routes by many farmers as major cause of Fulani-farmers crisis, which he said must be reviewed to remap demarcations initially operated peacefully as contained in the laws.

Ardo, who is contesting for the post of national President, Miyetti Allah said: “Fulani are Nigerians and productive enough towards building the nation’s economy, they provide meat and milk and other lucrative drives from their cows, therefore, they should not be disregarded”.

He insisted that, multitude numbers of Fulani are well educated in both religious and western education and however called on Fulani to continue to be law abiding citizens and not to take law into their hands when there is any misunderstanding with farmers on the issue of lands disputes.

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