The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Benue State Government are in a war of words over the alleged proposed establishment of a Fulani colony in the state.
This comes after Vice President Kashim Shetima announced plans for the construction of 1,000 houses in several states, including Benue, to accommodate the Fulani community.
The PDP in the state, through its Publicity Secretary, Bemgba Iortyom, had described the proposed establishment of Fulani colonies as a matter of “deathly serious nature.”
They have vowed that the people of Benue State will vehemently reject the proposal.
Recall that the immediate past administration in Benue State, led by Samuel Ortom, had previously rejected similar policies proposed by the federal government.
In a statement released by Iortyom and shared with journalists in Makurdi, the PDP called on the state governor, Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia, to have Benue State removed from the list of states designated for these colonies.
The party argued that Benue State does not have a peer-to-peer basis for inclusion, unlike other selected states with substantial indigenous Fulani populations and land holdings. In these other states, it might be feasible to establish such colonies due to the existing Fulani communities.
He said, “Benue has no such indigenous Fulani population with land holdings where such a colony could be established.
“Secondly, it is unjust and ultimately insensitive to have a colony established for the Fulani with all the facilities for modern living in a state where victims of the genocidal atrocities committed by those same Fulani are still displaced from their lands and means of livelihood and living in sub-human conditions in camps which bear semblance to the concentration camps of Nazi Germany during 2nd World War.
Reacting, however, Governor Hyacinth Alia denied that government had succumbed to plans by the federal government to establish a Fulani colony in the state.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Tersoo Kulas, Governor Alia said there was no substance to the report.
Kula in the statement said: “Our attention is drawn to a story making headlines on the social media that Governor Hyacinth Alia, has included Benue in the list of states to get Fulani colonies.
“The story is false and should be disregarded.
“It is a burning desire of Governor Hyacinth Alia and the present administration to return the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) back to their homes, as soon as possible.”
Kula further added: “However, since most of their houses have been destroyed by the gun carrying marauding herders, the federal government of Nigeria under the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has agreed to sponsor the reconstruction of new homes for our Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).”