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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Middle Belt Patriots warn governors against yielding land to herders amid federal pressure

Group condemns federal directive as threat to regional security and indigenous populations

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The Middle Belt Patriots, a prominent advocacy group, has urged state governors across Nigeria not to yield to pressure from the Federal Government to allocate lands to herders for grazing, warning that such concessions would exacerbate security challenges in the Middle Belt and beyond.

The call comes in response to recent remarks by President Bola Tinubu, who, during the launch of an agricultural mechanisation initiative in Minna, Niger State, urged governors to designate portions of their states’ land for RUGA settlements or ranching purposes.

In a strongly-worded statement issued on Saturday and endorsed by its Director of Media and Strategic Communications, Steven Kefas, the Middle Belt Patriots voiced dismay over the government’s prioritization of pastoralist interests, which, they argue, come at the expense of indigenous communities facing displacement and violence.

The statement declared, “We of the Middle Belt Patriots vehemently condemn and reject the recent directive from the Federal Government asking state governors to make land available for grazing by Fulani herdsmen.”

Highlighting the precarious security situation in the Middle Belt, particularly due to armed militias affiliated with herders, the group cautioned against compliance with what they termed a “reckless federal directive.”

“We sternly warn the political leaders, monarchs, and youth/community leaders of the Middle Belt region to outright disregard and defy this reckless federal directive,” the statement emphasized.

Expressing concerns over the potential escalation of ethnic clashes and violent displacement of indigenous populations, the Middle Belt Patriots underscored the need for steadfast resistance against further land concessions to grazers, stressing the imperative of preserving peace and stability in the region.

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