By Chris Ochayi
ABUJA—MIDDLE Belt Forum, MBF, yesterday, accused the Federal Government of conspiracy to impeach Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State to enable it implement the avowed agenda of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, MACBAN, with a view to repealing the anti-open-grazing law in operation in the state.
The Forum also indicted President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration of instigating lawlessness and anarchy with the planned impeachment of the governor in order to declare a state of emergency in the state.
President of Middle Belt Forum, MBF, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, who made the allegation at a news conference in Abuja, said the attempt by eight lawmakers to impeach the governor posed a threat to democracy.
Bitrus said: “Ortom’s ‘offence’ apparently appears to be his principled defence of the people of Benue State, which is his constitutional duty as chief security officer, from the sustained onslaught of herdsmen.
“The passage of the Anti-Open-Grazing law by the State House of Assembly which His Excellency assented to and has begun its implementation has been a bitter pill for the herdsmen to swallow and they have via their organisations, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, MACBAN, threatened to make the state ungovernable.
“It would appear that the federal government is implementing an avowed agenda of Miyetti Allah” by creating crisis to the disadvantage of Benue people.
“The Police takeover of the State House of Assembly to facilitate the conduct of proceedings by a minority eight members is calculated to instigate lawlessness, precipitate crisis and killings and use that as an excuse to declare a state of emergency in Benue State.
“We demand that President Buhari, should immediately rein in the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, and direct him to recall all his men and women from illegal and unconstitutional conduct that can lead to breakdown of law and order in Benue State.
“Benue people, in particular and the entire people of Middle Belt in general, will perceive any breakdown of law and order by this illegality as a declaration of war on the people of the Middle Belt by the federal government.’’
While calling on President Buhari to sack IGP Idris, Bitrus said: “President Buhari should immediately remove the IGP. The role of the Police under Idris in an attempt to unconstitutionally change leadership of the National Assembly and their role in Benue saga are all steps that can inevitably lead to collapse of our democracy.
“This IGP lacks the mien and comportment to command a civil Police Force under a democratic dispensation.’’
The group also charged Benue State indigenes, Middle Belt and Nigerians in general “to be vigilant and to rise and defend our hard-earned democracy.”