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Monday, June 5, 2017

Tiv community to Fulani herdsmen: you don’t own Benue

The Mdzough U Tiv (MUT), the apex social-economic and political union of the Tiv Nation in Benue State, has warned Fulani herdsmen to stop claiming ownership of Tiv land.

The group said claims by the leadership of the Fulani Cattle Breeders Association, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, that they founded Tiv land, was untrue and mischievous.

The group’s president, Edward Ujege, at a news conference yesterday, called on Tiv natives to rise and protect their land from intruders.

Ujege said the herdsmen claim was not only inciting and bellicose, but full of half truths, which is intended to aggravate the already challenging security situation in the country.

His words: “The assertion by the group, that the Fulanis’ were the original inhabitants of the Benue valley, is ridiculous, preposterous and a complete falsehood.

“There is neither historical, archaeological, nor anthropological evidence to indicate that the Fulanis’ ever inhabited the Benue Valley at any time before the advent of the Tiv people.

What is a veritable and verifiable historical fact is that the forces of the 1804 Islamic Jihad, led by Uthman Dan Fodio, were defeated at the Ushongo hills in Tiv land. That explains why Islam could not be imposed on the Tiv people, nor Emirs appointed to rule Tiv land.

“The recent claim by Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, that they were in the Benue Valley before the Tiv, is ridiculous; it is a tissue of lies concocted from the pit of hell to support a desperate and diabolical claim on Tiv ancestral lands.

“Knowing who the Fulanis’ are, and their penchant for changing historical narratives to benefit their designs, we are not surprised. They have severally attempted to hoist a post-jihad narrative of Northern Nigeria’s identity, which seeks to conscript Northern minorities into a monolithic North in which they are a mere footstool for the caliphate.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Fulanis’ claim of having settled in the Benue Valley before the Tiv is a lie, because their attempt to change the narrative at this belated time confirms our suspicion that their interest in the Benue Valley is more than the grass they seek for their cattle.

“It is a devious strategy to secure illegal rights to Tiv ancestral lands, in order to exploit the political and religious opportunities that come with such rights.

“We challenge the Fulani to tell the world where and when the Tiv displaced them in order to settle in the Benue Valley.”

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