By Titus Atondu, Makurdi
The Minority Leader,Benue House of Assembly, Alhaji Sule Audu, on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), representing Agatu state constituency in the Benue State House of Assembly has expressed worry over the lingering crisis leading to breach of peace by fulani herdsmen in his country home,which has halted developmental and socio-economic activities in the local government.
Audu in an interview with Nigerian NewsDirect expressed sadness as the Agatu people and community was lagging behind in revenue generating,denial of peaceful co existence resulting to mental and physical torture.
According to him donor agencies,NGOs and other investors who were willing to invest in Agatu are now having second thoughts due to insecurity.
The legislator said that many lives of promising young men and women who would have been the constituency’s leaders of tomorrow had been cut short ,adding that”the few left were in pains and traumatized due to the brutal murder of their loved ones.”
“Farmers and artisans are displaced,they are hungry and left idle,they want to work but are not given the opportunity to work,our Internally Generated Revenue is poor, he said.”
The lawmaker however said that for now he was focused on scholarship for Agatu youths away from home to enable them attain education to any level without hindrances.
Audu appealed to the community and all stakeholders involved in matters concerning the local government to ensure peace was regained in Agatu.
The lawmaker however stated clearly that the people of Agatu had no land for grazing reserves.
“The government did not cede any land for herdsmen as grazing routes,
“The Agatu people can not have the fulani herdsmen come and disrupt in this harvest period,February to April,
“We want to aviod them completely this harvest season ,we have had enough,”he said.
He also debunked statements like “indigenous fulanis in Agatu”,saying”they are all visitors to our land.
The legislator warned mischief makers who were trying to politicize the Agatu crises to desist from such acts.
He said he and his constituency remains against the agreement reached on the 6th of January between the Agatu people of Benue and fulani herds-men of Nasarawa for the esta-blishment of grazing routes in Agatu by February.
“Only the Sole Administartor Michael Inalegu and Youth Agatu Youth leader Aboje Otenne in Benue signed and agreed for grazing reserves to be established in Agatu,
“The agreement was signed by Ardo Fulani, Loko, Nasarawa State and representative of Sarkin Loko, Mallam Saidu Ladan all from Nassarawa State,”he explained.
He further explained that the communiqué issued at the end of peace meeting between Nasarawa and Benue States government allowing Fulani graze on Agatu land by the end of February was unrealistic because the Agatu community dry season harvest end by April.
“How would harvesting and cattle grazing go together for God sake,we want our destroyed community reconstructed, rehabilitated and peace restored before the issue of reconciliation will come on board”, he maintained.