Jalingo — Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State has condemned last week's anti-grazing bill's protest by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria.
A statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Sylvanus Y. Giwa, described the protest as "baseless, meaningless and a calculated attempt to sabotage the present administration."
He said: "Although government allows freedom of expression on issues bordering on the rights of citizens, the cattle breeders, who were armed with dangerous weapons, contravened the principles of freedom of speech and expression since the rights of other citizens were threatened."
The governor explained that the bill was not directed at any particular ethnic group as claimed by the association, but to all tribes who indulge in cattle rearing in the state.
The cattle breeders had protested in the streets in Jalingo, the state capital, against the bill that is pending at the state House of Assembly.
According to the statement, the bill "affects every tribe in the state that is involved in cattle rearing and should not be misconstrued by the Miyetti Allah to cause acrimony in the state."
Ishaku described the position of the association's leadership as, "mischievous and a ploy to cause disaffection among the people and undermine the credibility of my administration."
He promised to deal with those who ordered the shut-down of abattoirs in Jalingo, describing the action as "disheartening."
The governor dismissed the allegation that he initiated the bill, saying he "is interested in transforming the state and not promoting primordial sentiments to destabilise the existing peace in the state.
He urged the people to join hands with his government to move the state forward and disregard any action that is aimed at causing confusion.