The Mdzough U Tiv (MUT), the apex social-economic and political development of the Tiv Nation, has warned Fulani herdsmen to stop claiming ownership of Tiv land.
The group said the recent claim by the leadership of the Fulani Cattle Breeders Association –Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore that they founded Tiv land was untrue and mischievous.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Edward Ujege, the President-General of the group called on all Tiv natives to rise and protect their land from intruders.
Ujege said the claim by Fulani herdsmen was not only inciting and bellicose but full of half truths and ahistorical; intended to aggravate the already challenging security situation in Tivland, Benue State and Nigeria as a whole.
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According to him, “The assertion by the group that the Fulanis were the original inhabitants of the Benue valley is absolutely ridiculous, preposterous and complete falsehood. There is neither historical, archeological nor anthropological evidence to indicate that the Fulanis ever inhabited the Benue Valley at any time before the advent of the Tiv people. What is a veritable and verifiable historical fact is that the forces of the 1804 Islamic Jihad led by the Fulani cleric, Usman Dan Fodio, were overwhelmingly defeated at the Ushongo Hills in Tivland. That explains why Islam could not be imposed on the Tiv people nor Emirs appointed to rule Tivland as was the case elsewhere in Nigeria.
“The recent claim by Miyetti Allah KautalHore that they were in the Benue Valley before the Tiv is not only ridiculous, it is a tissue of lies concocted from the pit of hell to support a desperate and diabolical claim on Tiv ancestral lands. Knowing who the Fulani are and their penchant for changing historical narratives to benefit their designs, we are not surprised. They have severally attempted to hoist a post Jihad narrative of Northern Nigerian identity that seeks to conscript Northern minorities into a monolithic North in which they are a mere footstool for the caliphate.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Fulani claim of having settled in the Benue Valley before the Tiv is a lie for several reasons:
“The Fulani attempt to change the narrative at this belated time confirms our suspicion that their interest in the Benue Valley is more than the grass they seek for their cattle. The attempt is a devious strategy to secure usufructuary rights to Tiv ancestral lands to be able to exploit the political and religious opportunities that come with such rights. We challenge the Fulani to tell the world where and when the Tiv displaced them in order to settle in the Benue Valley.”