Benue

By Peter Duru, Makurdi

The leaders of the three main socio-cultural organizations in Benue State, under the auspices of the Mdzough U Tiv, MUT, Ochetoha K’Idoma, OKI and Omi Ny’Igede, ONI, have vowed to resist the Miyetti Allah’s plot to create its vigilante group in the state.

The leaders maintained that a group whose members had allegedly unleashed mayhem in Benue state leading to the gruesome murder of thousands of the people as well as the displacement of close to two million farmers would never be allowed the leverage to establish a purported vigilante to be used as weapon for further annihilation of the people of the state.

In a statement issued weekend in Makurdi and jointly signed by their Chairman, Chief Iorbee Ihagh, the President General of MUT worldwide, AVM Tony Adokwu (retd.)
President General, OKI and Dr. Comrade Ben Okpa, the President General of ONI, the leaders expressed outrage at the recent open threat by the leadership of Miyetti Allah to drag Governor Samuel Ortom to the International Criminal Court, ICC, at The Hague over the enforcement of the Benue grazing law.

Part of the statement read “In their recent usual campaign of victimization and antagonization of Governor Ortom’s efforts toward ensuring peace and security of Benue people, the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore openly threatened that they would drag Governor Ortom to the International Criminal Court of Justice at The Hague for what they claimed was abuse of their rights and seizure of 25,000 cows belonging to their members.

“We find such threats ridiculous and at the same time nauseating to say the least. The terrorist atrocities committed by the Miyetti Allah group against Benue people and elsewhere across the country are fresh in the minds of all good spirited Nigerians and for the group to turn around to play the victim is a deliberate callous mischief to twist the narrative.

“In any case, as law abiding citizens, we as leaders of the socio-cultural groups in Benue State, hereby state categorically that the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore must be prepared to take all Benue people to The Hague, and not only Governor Ortom. We must emphasize that Governor Ortom as a leader we popularly elected, has our total mandate and we are fully in support of every lawful initiative by his administration to tackle security challenges to bring about enduring peace in the State.

“We state irrevocably that the orgy of bloodletting in Benue by Miyetti Allah will be vehemently resisted by our people using every available legal means. Miyetti Allah should not think they would blackmail, intimidate and victimize Governor Ortom and the rest of Benue people into silence about the unprovoked and coordinated killing of our people. Governor Ortom is fighting a just cause for our people and we are fully in solidarity with him as any attack on the Governor is an attack on the entire Benue people who will never surrender their ancestral lands to herdsmen on a conquest agenda.

“We feel deeply concerned and so too it has remained a subject of curiosity to many Nigerians, why the security agencies have not up to this moment, arrested even one single leader of the Miyetti Allah group who on several occasions in the national media, have boasted and claimed responsibility for the mindless attacks and killings carried out in Benue State.

This is a clear demonstration of complicity with the Miyetti Allah on the part of the Federal Government whose constitutional responsibility it is to order the arrest and prosecution of this group that has been committing heinous crimes against our people for a long period of time now.

“We note that as a leader who prioritizes the security of lives and property, Governor Ortom in genuine response to his people, recently through the State House of Assembly, established the Benue State Community Volunteer Guards, BSCVG as a home-grown security initiative to complement the conventional security agencies especially at the grassroots in curbing any security breaches.

“However, in their trademark pattern of antagonization and vilification of Ortom’s security initiatives, the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore National Secretary, Saleh Alhassan was quoted in an interview on Monday, August 30, 2022 saying the Miyetti Allah is ‘working on creating their own vigilante groups in order to protect their people from the attacks of state-owned security personnel.’

“He particularly cited the Benue State local security outfit as being of concern to the group. Here too, the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore has once again exhibited itself as a lawless group that is bent on nothing but promoting anarchy in the land. Otherwise we wonder why any law abiding organisation would bother itself about a constitutional security formation put in place for the good of all citizens.

“We must strongly warn the Miyetti Allah group that Benue State Community Volunteer Guards just like the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of the State is a child of necessity which is not targeted at anyone but aimed primarily at the security of the people. We state unequivocally that Miyetti Allah’s desire to establish ‘their own vigilante’ as they have stated is the height of evil intention to reinforce their carnage in resisting Benue laws. For us no such evil intentioned vigilante by the Miyetti Allah will operate in Benue State.

“As socio-cultural organizations in Benue State, we fully sanction the operation of the State Community Volunteer Guards which we know is operating within their rules of engagement at the grassroots. The personnel are well trained by conventional security agencies and all the security chiefs as well as the traditional institution were duly carried along in selecting men and women of unquestionable character to serve as the Volunteer Guards.”

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