Middle Belt Patriots Reject Federal Government’s Grazing Land Directive

The Middle Belt Patriots, a prominent advocacy group, has issued a strong appeal to state governors, urging them to reject any pressure from the Federal Government to allocate lands for herders’ grazing purposes. This appeal comes in response to President Bola Tinubu’s recent advocacy for states to dedicate portions of land for RUGA or ranching initiatives aimed at Fulani herders.

President Tinubu emphasized the need for such allocations during the launch of an agricultural mechanization revolution in Minna, the capital of Niger State, to promote agricultural and pastoral activities.

However, the Middle Belt Patriots, representing the interests of the Middle Belt region, have expressed concerns that conceding lands for grazing could worsen the already tense security situation in the area and beyond.

In a statement released on Saturday, signed by Steven Kefas, the group’s Director of Media and Strategic Communications, the Middle Belt Patriots articulated their apprehensions regarding the Federal Government’s approach. They highlighted the perceived bias in favor of pastoralist interests, which they argue comes at the expense of indigenous communities increasingly threatened by the encroachments and violent actions of armed militias associated with the herders.
The statement reads in part, “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. This provocative and ill-advised order shows a shocking disregard for the already tenuous security situation in the Middle Belt region that has been under sustained violent attack by armed Fulani ethnic militias.”

“We sternly warn the political leaders, monarchs, and youth/community leaders of the Middle Belt region – Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa, Niger, Kwara, Kogi, and sections of Taraba, Adamawa, Bauchi, Southern Kaduna, and Gombe – to outright disregard and defy this reckless federal directive. Capitulating to these demands and ceding more land for grazers will only fan the flames of ethnic clashes, further the genocidal massacres, escalate the violent displacement of indigenes from their ancestral lands, and jeopardize the fragile peace in a region that has already suffered immensely.

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