Determined to minimise the constant invasion and attacks by suspected armed fulani herders on the people of Benue State, particularly the Tiv ethnic group, the Tiv Traditional Area Council has embraced cluster settlement lifestyle, Arewa PUNCH investigations have revealed.
The Benue State Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster, Management, Aondowase Kunde, also affirmed to this when he disclosed to our correspondent in Makurdi on Friday that “the Tiv traditional rulers have come out with a plan to embrace cluster settlements.”
Arewa PUNCH recalls that several political observers and public commentators have, over the years, advocated for the cluster settlement lifestyle among the Tiv ethnic group to minimise the constant attacks of the suspected fulani herders.
The scattered settlement pattern of the Tiv people they reasoned had made the people and their communities vulnerable to the repeated attacks with it’s attendant loss of lives.
The agitators for cluster settlement also observed that the Tiv traditional scattered settlement made social amenities elude many of the communities.
Kunde, while confirming the stance of the traditional rulers about the new settlement arrangement, streessed, “I met with Tiv Traditional Area Council where His Royal Majesty, the Tor Tiv, James Ayatse presided over the meeting and they agreed and said that the Tiv Area Traditional Council has embraced cluster settlement.
“So the Tiv Traditional Area Council has come out and developed a program which is cluster settlement. This was already on before the government of Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia introduced the cluster settlement for the Internally displaced persons,” he remarked.
The Commissioner pointed out further that if the Tiv people continued with the scattered settlement pattern, they would not have lands to farm, even as he impressed further, “But if we re arrange and come together and cluster ourselves in an environment we can have enough land for farming activities.
“If you go to my side now, if you farm, you must apply fertilisers, otherwise, you will not get anything because of the unabating yearly farming. We don’t give a space for two or three years and this has caused a lot of problems for us,” Kunde mentioned.
However, he dismissed the insinuations that the present administration is trying to provide land for fulanis, when he clarified, “What we are saying is that the clustering for the resettlement of the IDPs will enable the goverment to take care of them better especially in the area of provision of social amenities.”
He added that the Federal Government would build over 200 cluster homes for the Internally Displaced Persons in eight vulnerable Local Government Areas in the state.
The LGAs include: Makurdi, Gwer West, Guma, Ukum, Logo, Agatu and Konshisha.
The Commissioner equally stated that the state government is collaborating with development partners in a bid to complement Federal Goverment’s efforts.
He said that the new settlement for the IDPs will have electricity powered by solar energy, potable water, hospital and markets.