Outcries as Jime signs secret pact with Buhari to reopen cattle routes
Nigerian Concord Newspaper
This is not a good period for the people of Benue state as secret plans between the APC governorship candidate, Emmanu Jime, and the Presidency are underway for the reopening of the old cattle routes in the state as a way to pacify the Miyetti Allah association.
It would be recalled that there were unconfirmed reports on the social media yesterday that Barrister Jime had agreed with the Presidency and Miyetti Allah association to reopen the old cattle routes across Benue state if they can support him to win the forthcoming governorship election.
However, sources within the Presidency confided in Nigerian Concord Newspaper this morning that the report was something to go by.
One of them, a top security detail, said that the meeting was held recently in Aso Rock at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The source said that it was the leaders of the herders association that asked the president to summon Jime to the meeting where the deal was sealed for them to support him to win the election.
He said: “It will be a dangerous time for the people of Benue if the plan succeeds because the Miyetti Allah leaders are ready to kill, spend money for vote buying and do other nefarious things to win the election for the APC governorship candidate.
” They have signed the pact right here in Aso Rock. I am not permitted to speak on this but I am from Nasarawa state, and it will also affect my own state if they succeed so I think the best thing to do is to leak the secret if I will not be quoted.
“At the meeting, Jime was asked if he could agree to reopen the old cattle routes across Benue state if they make him governor, and right in front of the president, he agreed and signed the pact”
Reacting to the report, Benue Arise, a Socio-political in Benue state, said that reopening the routes which have been abandoned for a long time is simply a move designed to placate Fulani herdsmen at the expense of the masses.
Speaking with Nigerian Concord in a telephone chat, President of Benue Arise, Reverend James Apine, described the secret pact as a provocative agenda, adding that it can only escalate the violent campaign that has rendered the Benue state a killing field for the Fulani herdsmen.
He stressed that if the issue is not handled with care, it could pose a threat to the stability of Benue state and Nigeria as a whole.
He said: “This is thoughtless; it is insulting to the communities whose people are being massacred on their farms. Deliberately, Jime and the president are about to deepen an age-old conflict by decreeing a solution that, once again, appeases only Fulani interests and jeopardises those of Benue farmers.
“Carving out grazing routes in this age is primitive. It is incendiary and suspicious when cattle grazers are being given official imprimatur to roam freely on other people’s farmlands. This is an open call to deadly dissonance. This is inverted logic; most unreasonable because cattle herders have no special rights above farmers, fishermen and landowners in Benue state”
Reverend Apine noted that the devastating imprint of grazing is all too evident in Benue state, adding that many innocent farmers had lost their lives as well as their sources of livelihood to cattle encroachment and violent herdsmen.
“The heinous crimes of the herdsmen placed them as the fourth deadliest terror group in the world in the 2015 Global Terrorism Index. The GTI, an Australia-based NGO, estimated that Fulani herdsmen killed 1,229 Nigerians in 2014” he added.
Also reacting in an electronic mail sent to this newspaper, Secretary of the North Central Youth Vanguard, Mrs Helen Madaki, warned the people of Benue to reject the plan, adding that it will be their fault if they allow the old cattle routes to be reopened at their peril.
Her words: “Opening up grazing routes is not a substitute for ranching. It is an ephemeral solution laced with poison. But ranching guarantees profitability, increases exports and eliminates conflict between farmers and herders.
“As far back as the 16th century, the Spanish had developed ranching to improve returns on livestock. Brazil, which exported 625 million tons of livestock products in 2000, now has 226 million heads of cattle. This is a product of ranching”
Mrs Madaki wondered how Emmanuel Jime, a lawyer, would team up with external forces to practise provocative land grab just because he wants their supports to be governor.
She however urged the Benue people to resist this secret plan which will empower the Fulani herders to acquire any land anywhere in the state.
Also speaking with this newspaper on the development, the Action Allance Against Terrorism alleged that the secret deal to reopen the old cattle routes in Benue state is a way to favour the business of the Fulani herdsmen at the expense of the farmers whose farms are always destroyed by the Fulani’s cows across the state.
” We reject any plan that would rob the Benue people of their possessions and award to another set of citizens” the Action Alliance Against Terrorism said through its chairman, Mr. Yusuf Aminu.
Aminu warned the people of Benue not to fold their arms while the Federal Government plans with Jime, their own son, to unilaterally hand over their farmlands to Fulani herdsmen for grazing reserves, which will in a few years be converted to Hausa-Fulani emirates.