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Taraba begins recruitment, training of anti-herdsmen marshals

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Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
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Taraba state government is set to commence training of over 1000 ‘Special Anti-open Grazing Marshals’ this Saturday, investigations have revealed.

Despite protests, the state government had gone ahead to recruit some youths who will enforce the anti-grazing law in all the local governments areas of the state.

The state governor, Darius Ishaku, had earlier said the state had no land for cattle colonies as proposed by the Federal Government.

Mr Ishaku, however, declared that the implementation of the law in the state would take effect from January 2018.

DAILY NIGERIAN learnt that if implemented, the cattle ranching law will compel cow owners to buy land for the ranches for their livestock.

An insider also confirmed that the Marshals, who will operate in each ward across the 16 local government areas, will be trained by retired security personnel including ex-soldiers at NYSC camp, along Wukari road.

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The source added that 680 more personnel will be recruited soon.

“We have 168 wards and in each ward 10 Marshals were recruited across 16 local governments,” said a top government official who doesn’t want to be named.

While reacting, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, rejected the recruitment and training of the Marshals describing it as “calculated and deliberate attempt to attack Fulani nomads.

The Chairman of the association, Sahabi Tukur, while describing the law as ill intended, discriminatory and misplaced priority, said if implemented, the law may cause uneasy and another round of crisis.

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Mr Tukur noted that the essence of government is to protect the lives and property of its citizens irrespective of creed, ethnic, geographical or regional inclination before any consideration.

“However, going through the law and even hurriedly recruiting these ethnic militias to attack Fulanis under the guise of Marshals, we can clearly pick holes that are capable of undermining the essence of government as provided for by the Nigerian constitution.

“We keep telling the government that we will continue to challenge the impunity and no amount of threat will frighten us.

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“We will however continue to be law abiding citizens and everybody knows that supremacy of Nigerian constitution has superseded any law enacted by states,” he emphasized..

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However, the state governor, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Bala Abu, challenged the group to come out with evidence showing clearly how the governor is training ethnic militia against the Fulani.

“We are aware of their plot to stop the implementation of the Taraba State Open Grazing Prohibition Law which is due to commence soon, but the governor won’t be deterred in his quest to bring peace to the state,” the governor’s SSA said.

When contacted on the veracity of the alleged recruitment of the marshals, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Public Affairs, Emmanuel Bello, said: “All I can say is that machinery is put in place for the smooth implementation of the law.”

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