From Uche Nnorom Makurdi
Leadership of the three socio- cultural group namely Mdzough U Tiv, Idoma National Forum and Omi Ny’Igede have described as ‘sheer mischief’ comments by leaders of Miyetti Allah asking President Muhammadu Buhari to call Governor Samuel Ortom to order.
The groups in a statement signed by Chief Edward Ujege, President General, Mdzough U Tiv, Barr. Amali Adoya Amali President, Idoma National Forum and Chief Enyi Ode President-General, Omi’ Ny’Igede and made available to our reporter, noted that the anti-open grazing law was not made by Ortom but by the people of Benue state through their democratically elected representatives as a last resort in their futile efforts to find lasting peace and ensure security of lives and property in the state.
‘Our attention has been drawn to a statement credited to the leaders of Miyetti Allah entitled: “Again Miyetti Allah leaders rise against Benue anti-grazing law,” in which they vowed to do everything possible to resist any law that is against their culture, movement and economic interest.
“It is unfortunate that the leaders of Myetti Allah have deliberately chosen to use Ortom as a scape goat in their ethnic cleansing agenda in Benue state. For, as his public service record would show, Ortom is an extremely peaceful and God-fearing Governor who is only doing the will of his own people.
“We wish to point out that the leaders of Miyetti Allah cannot and should not continue to use the enactment of the anti-open grazing law in Benue State as an excuse to perpetrate their terrorist acts of killing defenceless farmers and other members of the society in Benue State.
“The killings by Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria are not restricted to Benue State where the anti-open grazing law has been enacted. The Fulani killings have cut across Nasarawa, Taraba, Adamawa, Kogi, Plateau, Kaduna, Edo, Ondo, Enugu and other states where the law does not exist”.
They noted that the killings in Benue State particularly, started as far back as 2010 before the anti-open grazing law was enacted by the Benue State House of Assembly late last year, stating emphatically too, that the anti-open grazing law does not stultify the culture, movement or economic interests of any person or group of persons, including members of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore Fulani Association, hence, reason why a good number of herders, including Fulanis, Hausas and other groups with good intentions, still reside peacefully in Benue state.
According to the statement, the Benue state law for the prohibition of anti-open grazing and establishment of ranches has, indeed, been justified by the National Economic Council,NEC, chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, which recently endorsed ranching and directed that there should be no more open grazing of cattle in Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Taraba states.
“The Buhari administration’s failure to declare the killer Fulani herdsmen as terrorists and prosecute the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore Fulani Socio-Cultural Association that has embarked on genocide and ethnic cleansing of Benue people, particularly the Tiv race has given us cause for concern. This is because of the fact that they had invited all Fulani from around West and Central Africa to converge on Benue State and use all means available to visit mayhem on Benue people. This open threat was actualized by the killing of 73 persons in Guma and Logo local government areas of Benue on January 2, 2018 and the subsequent murder of two Catholic priests and 17 worshipers at Mbalom parish in Gwer East LGA of the state last month.
“Let it be known that the killings are still on-going, at an average of two persons per day, although most of these killings are not being reported.”