By Wale Ibrahim, Lokoja
Worried by the recent prounancement that Kogi is set to set up Cattle Colonies in the state, the people of Kogi-East cutting across nine local government councils of the State have petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari, saying they rejected Fulani Cattle Colony in Igala land.
In a letter singed by the President of the Igala Project, Mr. Atayi Babs, and the Secretary General, Mallam Musa Haruna which a copy was made available to journalists in Lokoja yesterday stated that they vehement opposed the move.
According to the petition, it was predicated on the fact that it will eventually lead to breakdown of law and order with killings and wanton destruction of property, “as our people, who are largely farmers, are not prepared to host Fulani herdsmen or cattle colony masters in our land.”
The petition read in parts, “Our position is further reinforced by the multiple acts of war and mayhem being unleashed daily, on our innocent farmers and hapless law-abiding citizens, in their villages, homes and farm lands, by rampaging Fulani herdsmen.
“Mr. President, between June 2015 and December 2017, Igala land has witnessed several incidences of killings as a result of herdsmen violence in several areas including Ebeje where 8 people were killed and farms set ablaze, Agbada/Agojeju where 19 people were slaughtered, Edede – 2 persons were killed, 6 people killed in Oganenigu, 3 people killed in Ojapata, 5 people killed in Ojuwo Anawo. All these happened in Dekina Local Government Area.
“The story is not different in Ofu local government area at Ojuwo Omachi and Akpagidigbo where the incessant attacks of herdsmen have claimed the lives of over 20 persons.
“In Abejukolo and Bagana in Omala Local Government Area, the reign of terror resonates loudly, so much that our people no longer move freely, to and from their farm lands, because of the fear of killings, maiming and rape, with some villages like Ebakume wholly sacked and entire farm produce granaries/silos completely burnt.
“Despite the brazen nature of the aforementioned acts of criminality by these would-be occupants of the so-called cattle colony, none of them has been arrested or made to account for these crimes, as these heavily armed cattle herders terrorise our land, flaunting their prowess in the handling of AK 47 rifles and double barrel guns.
“Dear Mr President, our opposition to this move and the hasty approval given by the Kogi State Governor is further reinforced by the inescapable fact that under your Presidency, murderous Fulani herdsmen have enjoyed subtle protection and favouritism to the extent that these herdsmen, who now treat Nigeria as a conquered territory, will eventually go beyond the purview of the so-called colony to destroy farmlands, maim and kill under the slightest provocation.
“In view of the above and many more, we the undersigned concerned people of Kogi-East, Kogi State, North-Central, Nigeria state as follows:
“We do not want cattle colony or grazing reserve in our landWe reject any attempt to convert or transfer the ownership of ancestral lands in Igala land to cattle colony master or owners who operate by killing people, destroying communities wholesale, and destroying farmlands while enjoying government protection from counter attack, arrest or prosecution. We reject attempts to turn Igala land into the next killing field of marauding Fulani herdsmen.”