The Peoples Democratic Party in Benue State has rejected the proposed establishment of a Fulani colony in the state.
The party in Benue state was reacting to the submission of Vice President Kashim Shetima announced at a public function in Maiduguri last week that the President Tinubu administration had approved the construction of 1,000 houses in Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna, Niger, and Benue states with all the ancillary facilities of schools, clinics, veterinary clinics, and ranches for the Fulani community.
According to the statement issued by the publicity secretary of the PDP in the state, Bemgba Iortyom, a copy made available to newsmen in Makurdi on Monday called on the state governor, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, to remove the state from the list.
PDP said that Benue never had a peer-to-peer basis for the inclusion of the state among the other selected states, which all have large indigenous Fulani populations with substantial land holdings on which such colonies could be sited.
“In other words, in those other states, it could be natural to have such colonies where a Fulani population is already in situ and which would seamlessly be accommodated therein.
“Benue has no such indigenous Fulani population with land holdings where such a colony could be established.
“Secondly, it is unjust and ultimately insensitive to have a colony established for the Fulani with all the facilities for modern living in a state where victims of the genocidal atrocities committed by those same Fulani are still displaced from their lands and means of livelihood and living in sub-human conditions in camps that bear semblance to the concentration camps of Nazi Germany during the Second World War”, the statement read in parts.
PDP submitted that former vice president Yemi Osinbajo made a promise in 2018 on behalf of the federal government to resettle those displaced back to their lands and also made a pledge of $10 billion, which he said was not fulfilled.
The party further said that it was inhuman to contemplate settling those oppressors in comfort while their victims languished in hellish conditions, adding that it amounted to thumbing up criminality while rubbing the nose of the victim into the blood spilt by the oppressor.
Iortyom further said, “PDP, therefore, demands that Governor Alia should with dispatch remove Benue from that list of colonisation, as the people of the state across all sections, the traditional leadership, religious organisations, civil society, and institutions of representative leadership, had all during the Buhari administration rejected such attempts to have herdsmen colonies in the state.
“Benue had vehemently rejected Ruga, the Water Resources Bill, the Cattle Colony, Grazing Routes, and every other form of Fulani colonisation efforts as they were made in the past, and the situation has not changed.
The PDP reiterates that Benue does not need a Fulani colony; what the state needs is Governor Alia’s fulfilment of his promises to IDPs to resettle them back on their ancestral lands.
“Benue will resist with all means lawfully available to its people attempts by Governor Alia and his allies in Abuja to settle Fulani herdsmen on lands they displaced the people from through killings and plunder.
“It is the understanding of the party that, as reflected in the principle driving the Prohibition of Open Grazing and Ranches Establishment Law, Fulani are permitted to live and do lawful business in the state; it is, however, such policies as will negate such a principle of peaceful coexistence that will be resisted by the people.
“The party expects that the governor is aware of the deathly serious nature of this matter and that he cannot afford to dismiss it and attempt to have a Fulani colony established on any inch of Benue soil.
It will be recalled that the immediate past governor of the state, Samuel Ortom, during his heydays, was always on top of his game, rejecting similar policies by the past administration of Muhammad Buhari.
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