CROSS RIVER – Fulani herdsmen under the aegis of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria on Tuesday demanded the head and other body parts of one of their colleagues who was killed during a clash with farmers in Ugala, Yala Local Government Area of Cross River State.
The slain herdsman, identified simply as Buba, was said to have been beheaded, during a fight between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in the community on Sunday.
Several other persons sustained injuries in the fracas.
The Vice Chairman of the MACBAN, Alhaji Abdurrahman Abdul, who led a delegation of herdsmen on a visit to the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone Six, Calabar, Mr. Abubakar Marafa, said three other members of the association had been declared missing since the incident happened.
He told Southern City News that Buba was on his way to rescue one of his shepherds who was allegedly attacked by farmers when the incident occurred, adding that the Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, might not have been properly briefed on the matter.
Abdul said, “The governor may not have been properly briefed on this matter. The man who was beheaded was a Fulani man and his vital organs were removed. We are requesting for the return of the head and other vital organs of Buba for us to bury him.
“Three others are also missing as we speak and we do not know where they are. Buba was riding his motorcycle to rescue his shepherd whose hand and leg were dismembered when he was attacked and killed. The shepherd is still in the hospital and we are calling for justice.”
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hafiz Inuwa, had confirmed that one life was lost in the clash with one person injured.
He disclosed that his men had been mobilised to the scene, adding that the security of the area was under control.
Meanwhile, Governor Ayade has directed the immediate deployment of all the security apparatus in the state to forestall a breakdown of law and order in Ugaga.
Ayade, who spoke after an emergency state security council meeting in Calabar, said the meeting was one of his proactive steps in stemming the security crisis in the area.
He said, “We have already deployed the military, police and other security agencies to ensure that the situation is brought under control and as we speak, the area is calm and peaceful.”
Ayade noted that the clash between the herdsmen and farmers came against the backdrop of the full implementation of the anti-open grazing bill recently passed into law by the Benue State Government.
The governor, who said the anti-grazing law of Benue State had put a lot of pressure on Cross River, particularly along border communities and towns, lamented that the state was bearing the brunt of the law.
“If the Federal Government does not come to lend its support to the state, what will happen is that they are leaving the farmers and the herdsmen to take on themselves,” he said.
He noted that as a result of the full implementation of the anti-open grazing law by the Benue State Government, there had been mass exodus of Fulani herdsmen to Cross River.
“This has become more exacerbated by the changes in climatic condition as the grasses up North is getting drier and the impact is what resulted in the incident we recorded yesterday where there was a skirmish between the herdsmen and Ugaga community, leading to loss of lives.”
“If Cross River State does nothing, the continuous exodus of an uncontrolled number of herdsmen into the state will result in more crisis. So, we must do something actively and fast too because it is causing anxiety, fear and worry and all through yesterday, Sunday night, all the calls and suggestions I got were that we should follow the direction of Benue State,” he said.