By Kingsley Omonobi & Peter Duru
Abuja: The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, MACBAN, yesterday, disclosed that the killings and attacks experienced in several parts of the country from herdsmen were being fuelled by the draconian laws put in place by some state governments to drive out Fulani herdsmen due to ethnic hatred.
Consequently, Miyetti Allah said it lost over 1,000 person, including children, women and the aged, and over two million cattle to ethnic militia put in place by these states to kill herdsmen.
“The trend of attacks on our defenceless members by ethnic militias oiled by a deliberate profiling through coordinated media campaigns against our members, to say the least, is the worst crime against humanity,” the group said.
Speaking in Abuja, General Secretary of MACBAN, Baba Usman Ngeljarma, gave details of how its members were killed, saying: “We confirm the position of His Royal Highness, the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, that in spite of the fact that 732 of our people were killed in Mambila and 82 women and children killed in Numan, nobody was arrested.
‘’We, hereby, demand the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes without further.
“We further state that the refutal of the Emir’s position by the Taraba State governor is merely a continuation of his desperate act of hiding the state government’s involvement and protection of the perpetrators of these acts.”
While demanding payment of compensation to victims of all crises to reduce their level of suffering, the group urged the Federal Government to create a Federal Ministry of Livestock Development to attend to the multi-dimensional needs of the industry as obtained in many countries.
It said: “Government should also enact a national law to carter for the peculiar needs of pastoralists in particular and the livestock subsector in general since the mischievous anti-open grazing laws promulgated by some states have woefully failed to address the contentious issues.
“We call for a federal judicial commission of inquiry into all these killings so as to unravel the truth and the offenders.
“We wish to register our appreciation to all those who have refused to be blinded by sentiment and are standing on the path of truth and justice, especially the governors of Bayelsa, Plateau, Kogi and Nasarawa states, in the face of these complicated circumstances.
“We disassociate ourselves from any other group or individual that is out to foment trouble in the country.
“We also welcome the Federal Government’s current resolve to address the lingering crises and submit ourselves for any positive participation to restore mutual and harmonious relationship in the country.
“We demand immediate disarmament of all illegally armed militias across the country in the interest of peace, security and stability.
“Finally, we condemn in totality any attempt of branding herdsmen as terrorists as is being clamoured from certain quarters. We view this as the continuation of the hate agenda on our people and a very dangerous trend for the country.”
Herdsmen using the law as alibi—Benue govt
Meanwhile, Chief Press Secretary to Benue State Governor, Mr. Terver Akase, has dismissed claims by Miyetti Allah that its members were attacking states like Benue because of the draconian laws made against the interest of herdsmen.
Akase said:, “Their claims are false, herdsmen are not attacking Benue because of the open grazing prohibition law. It cannot be the law because they have been attacking the state even before the law was enacted. They are only using the law as an alibi. In 2012 to 2017 that they were attacking the state was the law in place?
“Their target is to take over the land and nothing more. The law was enacted to ensure peaceful coexistence between the herders and farmers. So that claim is completely unfortunate and false.”