This piece is short but loud and clear. Hope it sends a clear message to those rejecting open grazing in Plateau state. Let me start by paying glowing tribute to G17 a smart, active, fearless and non-compromising pressure group on the Plateau under the leadership of Hon. Dachung Bagos. I was thrilled to high heavens when I got the news of the “Anti-Grazing Bill” presented before the Honourable Speaker Plateau state House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Peter Azi by a cream of Plateau youths under the auspices of G17. Presenting the Citizen Bill was a welcome development and perhaps the best thing that ever happened to the state. I’m not unmindful of the condemnations, rejections, mixed feelings and war of words that greeted the development before and after everything. The criticisms unfortunately also came from respected persons and their reasons were best known to them. I’m always proud to be a Plateau son with deep roots in the Mupun culture. Having grown in Plateau state and toured almost all the 17 Local Government areas on humanitarian missions, I think I have ample knowledge of the problems confronting my people. Plateau state is no doubt like a theater of bloody war between rural farmers and rampaging Fulani herdsmen. From time immemorial, dozens of people have been sent to their early graves by men of the underworld (herdsmen). The killings have continued unabated from Barkin Ladi to Riyom, from Bokkos to Bassa, in fact, from almost every nook and cranny of rural areas to the city Centre. The number of lives lost can’t be quantified. Herdsmen on account of grazing their cows temper with people’s farms and if the owner responds to the unfortunate act, he/she gets intimidated or killed. On the other hand, the farm with healthy crops get destroyed by the rampaging herdsmen thereby cutting short the means of livelihood of the owner and his/her family. How sad! Plateau state has been accommodating people from different parts of the country and world. Our weather is unique. Our cultures are exceptional and our natural resources are boundless. We’ve always been known for our hospitality and quest for peace. But if a group of people who came to settle and graze their cows are bend on causing troubles and making lives miserable for others, I think their activities must be banned to usher in a new era of peace. Of course the constitution recognizes the right to settle anywhere and pursue legitimate businesses but not as trouble makers. Plateau state has had its share of the bloody regime of anarchy but it’s time to liberate our future. The total and complete ban on open grazing must be enforced by the government. Our people have suffered enough and we can’t continuously deceive ourselves and allow our enemies wreak havoc and take over our ancestral land. It can’t happen. We crave for peace and a better Plateau. No one had the courage to ask for a ban on open grazing but G17 did it. They did it by first of all travelling to Benue Way state and committing resources to study how citizen bill is prepared and presented. This is a great tribute to courage. What is left is for the government to seriously work and consider the bill in the best interest of Plateau state. Herdsmen should nicely consider Cattle ranching and take that as a private business. Meanwhile, the press release by MACBAN condemning and rejecting the bill against open grazing is laughable and an exercise in futility. It’s time to take our destiny in our hands.
God bless the future of Plateau state.
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