By Peter Duru, Makurdi
The Benue Youth Forum, BYF, has raised concern over plans by Miyetti Allah to establish vigilante groups across the country warning that the Federal and State Governments must stopped the move as it is an invitation to crisis.
The BYF in a statement issued Thursday in Makurdi by its National President, Terrence Kuanum in reaction to recent media outing by the National Secretary of Miyetti Allah, Alhaji Hassan Saleh who during an interview with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, was alleged to have said that “the Fulani communities are mobilising their own security outfits and the people will not be in thousands, but in millions. It is the only way they can fight back the powers that be against them.”
Reacting to the revelation, the BYF described as very curious, a situation where a group which allegedly took responsibility for majority of the killings of innocent Nigerians, particularly in Benue State plots to float a vigilante group in the country.
Accordingly to the BYF, “This is a clear call to war against ethnic nationalities by the Fulanis who are using their proximity to power in Nigeria to disposses other tribes of their ancestral lands if such threats are taken lightly.
“This is one of the reasons that have persistently made Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom to keep calling for the arrest and prosecution of the leaders of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore for their avowed complicity in the invasion of Benue communities and gruesome murder of over 5000 unarmed people, as well as destruction of properties worth billions of Naira and displacement of millions of people, thereby creating a cruch humanitarian crisis.
“This is a reminder to all of a similar threat by Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore in 2017 who vowed that blood will flow in Benue State if the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law was not scrapped by the state. What followed thereafter was the killing of over 70 innocent persons, including pregnant women, in their sleep in January 2018. These killings have continued ever since.
“The BYF sees this open declaration to establish private Vigilante Group across the country as another affront on the sensibilities of the Nigerian State. The Federal Government must not allow this group have their way. The Forum makes bold to say that Miyetti Allah as a tribal association has no legal rights to establish Vigilante groups when their members don’t have definite location; one wonders where the groups will be stationed.”
The BYF further alleged that, “the cattle breeders group want to create parallel governments in places they find themselves as they clearly said they were creating groups to fight against established security outfits as claimed by the Secretary of the Association. The group are simply on another voyage to legalise the incessant killings of Nigerians to take over their lands. We wonder what would become of our communities if they surreptitiously create a military wing under the guise of a Vigilante group when even now that members of Miyetti Allah have not officially formed Vigilante Group, their members bear prohibited arms and waging war against ethnic nationalities across Nigeria.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Fulani as an ethnic group have no legal rights to establish Vigilante groups anywhere they find themselves, but should rather subject themselves to constituted authorities wherever they settle.
“The BYF calls on the cattle breeders to obey laws of states where they settle especially the anti-open grazing legislations if they have genuine intentions of living in those areas.
“We call on the Federal Government and all relevant security agencies in the country to arrest the leadership of Miyetti Allah so as to nip in the bud, this evil plan to float another terror arm in the name of a Vigilante group and unleash mayhem on the people.”
The Forum also urge state governments across the country to be vigilant alleging that “the cattle breeders clearly want to convert their militia groups into a pseudo-security outfit to further expand their killing fields.”
“We are ready to resist any attempt to impose on the people a group of merchants of death disguised as vigilantes.
“Back home, we encourage Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state who has been the leading voice in exposing the hidden agenda of the Fulanis to once again, rise to the occasion, rally people of goodwill and forestall the impending disaster as usual.”