The Taraba State Government has described as unfortunate the statement made by the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, that the anti-open grazing law in Benue had caused the massacre of innocent Nigerians by Fulani herdsmen.
Speaking with the State House correspondents on Wednesday, the Minister had identified the blockage of cattle routes across the country as the remote cause of the killings by herdsmen.
He also said that the implementation of anti- open grazing law in some states was the immediate cause of the killings.
The minister had said, “Look at this issue (killings in Benue and Taraba), what is the remote cause of the farmers’ crisis? Since the nation ’s independence, we know there used to be a route whereby the cattle rearers take because they are all over the nation.
“If you go to Bayelsa or Ogun, you will see them . If those routes are blocked, what do you expect will happen? These people are Nigerians. It is just like one going to block the shoreline ; does that make sense to you ? These are the remote causes of the crisis. But the immediate cause is the grazing law.”
Reacting to Dan-Ali’s statement yesterday, through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Bala Dan-Abu, Governor Darius Ishaku wondered why the Federal Government was justifying the killings going on in the country instead of finding a solution to the problem.
He stated, “State governments are constitutionally empowered to make laws for the good governance and peaceful coexistence in their states.
“The killings were there before the laws came into being. The laws are part of the solution to end the killings . We are indeed surprised that the minister could say that.
“The Department of State Services , in its report, said the killings were done by Islamic State in West Africa and the minister is blaming the killings on blockage of cattle routes and anti- open grazing laws . So , who do we believe?”