Members of Taraba State chapter of Miyeti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, clad with arms, yesterday, took its protest against the state’s Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranchers Establishment Bill 2017 to the House of Assembly, threatening breakdown of law if the bill is passed.
The anti-open grazing bill was sponsored as an executive bill to the state House of Assembly by Governor Darius Ishaku about a month ago.
The speech of the state’s Chairman of Miyeti Allah, Sahabi Tukur, was read by Alhaji Adamu Azo at the gate of the Taraba State House of Assembly before the Speaker, Peter Diah, and other members of House.
The association described the bill as a move targeted to subdue the Fulani tribe and also to undermine and restrict activities of the Fulani tribe in the state.
The group called on the lawmakers to stop the bill in the collective interest of the people of the state. It also threatened that there would be a breakdown of law and order, should the House pass the bill into law.
While addressing newsmen, the Speaker, Diah, condemned the threats by the Chairman of Miyeti Allah, noting that the association was protesting in ignorance since the issues raised during the protest were accommodated within the proposed bill.
He said the committee set up by the House of Assembly to handle the process of the bill had given three weeks within which to conduct public hearing on the bill before passage, where all issues that appear unclear will be addressed.
He called on Miyeti Allah to compile all areas they are not comfortable with as a memorandum for the public hearing, stressing that the Assembly had given room for groups and individuals to attend the public hearing with their lawyers.
He described the protest as a deliberate move by Miyeti Allah to cause public disorder in the state capital, as the group did not follow due process, which was the reason security did not allow them access into the assembly complex.
He said: “How can you mobilise for protest and you allow your members to carry arms? The Assembly is an organised place and the security will not allow disorder.
“I think that was why they were not allowed access into the complex, but as a leader who was elected by the people, I insisted I will attend to them, even in the midst of their weapons.
Meanwhile, President-General of Tiv Cultural and Social Association in Taraba State, Chief Goodman Dahida, yesterday, raised alarm that herdsmen have taken over highways in the state, robbing motorists and passengers.
Dahida, who alleged that he was robbed alongside Senior Special Assistant to Governor Darius Ishaku on Revenue Mobilisation Matters, Jerry Tyolanga, and two others, at Iwari village on Wukari-Jalingo Highway, said the herdsmen had now taken their criminal activities from the farms to the highways, urging the Federal and state governments to step in.
Tyolanga also lamented that the incident almost took the life of a former member of the state House Assembly, Donga Gbashi, who was in a state of shock while the operation lasted.
He said: “They conducted a thorough search of Tyolanga’s car and they took all our monies and other valuables.”
We were so unfortunate to be the first car that ran into them when they blocked the road, just a few kilometres to Iwale from Wukari.
“They asked all of us to lie face down; they were speaking in Hausa and Fulani languages, and their pronunciations were that of enlightened Fulani persons.