Fulani herdsmen at the weekend invaded some communities in Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State with no fewer than 50,000 cattle to graze. Sole Administrator of the Council, Mr. Mike Inalegwu, disclosed during a chat with New Telegraph, while providing an update on the incessant crises between the Agatu people and the Fulani herdsmen.
The council boss explained that the invasion followed the joint agreement signed between Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom and his Nasarawa State counterpart, Alhaji Tanko Al- Makura on the Agatu/ Fulani crisis, which ceded part of Agatu land to the herders to graze after the harvest season in February. Inalegwu, who said the Agatu people were now living in harmony with the herdsmen, noted that over 50,000 cows had already been moved to Agatu communities for grazing.
The two governors met on January 19, this year, in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, where the communiqué issued at the end of the parley dedicated the Oguto Adanyi- Ogumago-Bagana routes to the “indigenous Fulani herdsmen” for grazing.
The communiqué reads in part: “The dedicated routes agreed by both parties for the movement of cattle are the Oguto Adanyi-Ogumago- Bagana routes.
The privilege is only granted to indigenous Fulani herdsmen, who were known to the Agatu people before the crisis. The indigenous Fulani herdsmen will graze in Agatu land after the harvest season at the end of February.
“Over 50,000 cows had been moved into Agatu communities for grazing in line with the agreement; our people received them with joy and the gesture went a long way in demonstrating that Agatu people are peace loving and accommodating.”
The Sole Administrator, who admonished the herdsmen for not allowing their cattle to stray in the farmland to avoid destruction of farm crops, however, denied the involvement of Agatu youths in the killing of 52 cows at Adoka in Otukpo Local Government Area of the state.
“From the investigation we carried out, none of Agatu youth was involved in the butchering or killing of the 52 cows in Adoka,” he said. Inalegwu, who lauded the efforts of Governor Ortom in restoring peace in the troubled Agatu communities, said that the people of Agatu would continue to reciprocate the good gesture by living peacefully with their neighbours.
On the ultimatum given to elders of Agatu to fish out killers of the slain soldier in the community, the council chair said that Agatu people were yet to arrest killers of the slain soldier, Badamasi Aminu.
“It is unfortunate that a soldier, who was on peace keeping mission was gruesomely murdered, we apologise to the Chief of Army Staff, the council is working hard to apprehend the killers,”