Lalong on Plateau killings: We thought cattle ranching had solved the problem

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Simon Lalong, Plateau governor, says he thought his state’s adoption of the cattle ranching policy would bring an end to killings caused by farmers-herders clashes.

Lalong said this on Saturday when Yakubu Dogara, speaker, house of representatives, paid a visit to Plateau.

The governor had criticised Benue governor Samuel Ortom when his state enacted the anti-grazing law as its solution to the lingering conflict.

 

“The summary is that I inherited this problem, when I was in government earlier we had such problems and we tackled them, came back to meet more problems, but by the grace of God we thought we had a total solution to it and were already enjoying our peace based on the solutions we had brought from issues with the same people,” he said.

“I thought we had proffered a practical solution which I was already selling to other states to copy, and with this solution we had peace in Plateau for over three years and we were in the mood of celebrating the peace when this one came.”

Not less than 100 persons were confirmed dead when suspected herdsmen attacked communities in the state last weekend.

Lalong said when the incident took place, he “realised that maybe something went wrong somewhere, and that is what we’re trying to do, to find the immediate cause if this problem and try to settle it once and for all”.

He continued: “For us, this event will not discourage us at all. We have taken our stand that we’re going to start from where they stopped and continue to build on it. We will revisit the architecture to solve our own local case, and then contribute to the national discourse on how to have peace in this country.

“One of the things I said to Mr. President was that even the effect on people who have been displaced for a very long time is something that sends long-term grievance to people.

“Any remote cause to bring back those bad memories tends to make people take laws into their own hands. You see people have IDPs in some places that haven’t been recognised for many years.”

The governor said the people of Plateau are aggrieved that the problem of farmers-herders clashes has persisted since 2001.

He said: “Each time we try to put them together, many of them their houses have been destroyed, they can’t get back to those places. Some people return only to see that others have taken over their houses. That’s why in my speech to Mr. President I said here, we’ll not allow anyone take over another’s land again.

“The issue of land grabbing will no longer be there. Where we have places that are insecure, we’ll do our best to provide security so that people will have the opportunity to come back to their various places.”