…Say it started same way before Benue pogrom’
By Peter Duru
Benue State tribal leaders, weekend described as reprehensible the directive by the National Secretary of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, MAKH, Alhaji Saleh Alhassan, that herdsmen should defend themselves in any part of the county, warning that it was an open declaration of war on Nigerians.
The leaders urged the federal government to treat the issue with all the seriousness and attention it deserved by inviting the leadership of MAKH, for questioning.
Alhaji Alhassan was reported to have said: “We are Nigerians and we have a history. Anybody that thinks he can wake up and take on the Fulani pastoralists is making a grievous mistake. We are well prepared to defend our fundamental human rights of movement in this country. They (herdsmen) are Nigerians, so they are entitled to stay where they are. They should remain where they are and defend themselves against ethnic militia and assert their citizenship in this country.
“The only thing we would say is that we will hold all the governors of those states responsible for their (herdsmen) safety and security, but if any ethnic militia, by any name, attacks our members, they should defend themselves in a manner that nobody would try such again.”
But Benue tribal leaders in their reaction yesterday through their Chairman, Chief Ujege said “the order by Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore was an open declaration of war on Nigerians because they are already prepared for that.
“Rumours have it that they enjoy the support and get manpower from outside. So the call by their leadership is just a ploy to deceive the people and the world that they are the victims when they are actually the aggressors. This is actually a warning signal. This was how the Benue pogrom started and it entails that the government must act fast to reposition and overhaul the security apparatus in the country in case of any eventualities and also ensure it is proactive enough to protect the people.
“In the past, this same group issued several threats on Benue state claiming ownership of the Benue valley, after which attacks were launched on Benue communities leading to the death of thousands of innocent people.
”Unfortunately, we made several calls for the arrest of the leadership of MAKH but not one single person has been arrested till date despite all the bloodshed in Benue, it is sad. Well, this fresh threat is basically their own another way of calling for war because they are already prepared and are attacking, maybe they want to do it on a bigger scale now.”