The Miyetti-Allah Kautal Hore, the Fulani socio-cultural association, has described the invasion alarm raised by the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, as a lie, saying it has no plan to launch fresh attacks on the state over the anti-grazing law.
The governor had last week Thursday in Abuja raised the alarm over an alleged plan by Miyetti Allah to launch fresh attacks on the state, calling on the security agencies to protect the people by immediately arresting the leaders of the group.
The National President of the association, Abdullahi Bello Bodejo and National Secretary Mr. Saleh Alhassan, at a media briefing yesterday in Abuja, said that Ortom was confused, thereby making unfounded accusation.
According to Bodejo, “We are law abiding and have always been championing pace and amicable resolutions of conflicts between pastoralists and farmers, the records are there. This was why we went to the court over this matter rather than result to self-help.”
Continuing, he added: “firstly, the Miyetti-Allah Kautal Hore is not a splinter of any other group. This is socio-cultural organisation and one can only be a Fulani man to be a member unlike other associations related to cattle rearing and sales which can accommodate anyone is as much as they are in cattle rearing or sales businesses.
“Also, Ortom asking pastoralists to leave Benue State cannot happen. We have a mandate to speak on behalf of our members and their rights as Nigerians. How can a Nigerian ask other Nigerians to leave a place they are constitutionally entitled to be,” he stated.
Bodejo explained that the governor’s claim that the state lost N95billion between 20102 and 2016 was far from the truth as it has been the pastoralists who have always been at the receiving end of the conflicts especially with farmers.
Reacting to the call for his arrest and that of Alhassan, he said Ortom was using ‘threat and blackmail tactics’ because he knew he was committing illegalities by trying to deny the pastoralists their means of livelihood, hence; his call for the arrest of the association’s leaders to cover his veiled hatred for the Fulanis.
On his part, Alhassan questioned the governor’s claim that the law was meant to protect both the farmers and herders alike, saying there was no provision for the so called ranches except the intent to establish six detention centres where seized or ‘arrested’ cattle would be kept and auctioned after seven day, thereby legitimizing cattle rustling.
“The governor was also not specific on the fines for cattle rustling unlike the specific penalties for pastoralists who can be accused of open grazing,” he noted.