By Itodo Daniel Sule
Chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in Taraba State, Mafindi Umar Danburam, yesterday said over 17,000 cattle of its members were rustled in the state between 2003 and this year.
Speaking in an interview in Jalingo, Umar said the recent cattle rustling took place in Wukari and Takum LGAs of the state.
He said 500 cattle were rustled in Jibu ward of Wukari on Monday by people suspected to be Jukuns while in Kashimbilla, Takum LGA, about 200 cattle were rustled last week by people suspected to be Tivs.
Umar said members have over the years been losing their cattle to rustlers in Wukari, Bali, Takum, Donga and Gassol.
He said they had made several complaints to security agencies and the government to address the issue and compensate owners but nothing was done.
Umar called on the Taraba State government to pay attention to the plight of cattle breeders by paying them compensation and providing grazing reserves and cattle routes to address farmers/herders clashes.
He said the Fulani in the state, whose major occupation is cattle rearing, constitute a large population and should be given fair representation in government in the interest of justice.
“We have been sidelined in the state. We need a representation of Miyetti Allah in state. This is our appeal to the incoming governor”, he said.
He maintained that the Fulani are not criminals as being branded, adding the recent attacks on communities in Karim Lamido area of the state were by Tarok people from Plateau and not Fulani as being insinuated.