The National Secretary of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) , Baba Usman Ngeljarma has blamed the current crises spread across some states of the federation on alleged draconian laws put in place by some state governments.
He said this draconian laws have the singular aim of chasing their people out of the state for simply ethnic hatred, noting that the unfortunate crises have since degenerated into dangerously intolerable level of killings, maiming and unprecedented destruction of properties” According to the National Secretary who spoke while briefing Newsmen in Abuja, he said “ more worrisome is the fact that the pastoralists community which has been the main target of the offensive is also deliberately being pointed as the attackers at the same time.
This horrible accusation in both intent and purpose is meant not only to smear the image of the herdsmen as a peace loving community, but to allow further criminal justification to carry out total ethnic cleansing on our members, as witnessed in different parts of the country Ngeljarma said “the anti-open grazing law which started in Ekiti State before it was replicated in Benue, Taraba and other states is nothing more than a symbol of intolerance and do not in any way intend to solve the farmers/grazers conflict as the livestock breeders interest is neither captured in the law nor in its implementation mechanism” In his words” the current situation in our opinion is fueled by the draconian laws put in place by some state government with the singular aim of chasing our people out of the states simply for ethnic hatred.
He said” While as a body we are not against any law that can engender peace, create societal harmony and stability, we cannot oblige any self-centered regulation with primodial sentiments based on injustice, intolerance and infringement of peoples fundamental rights.
“It is no longer hidden that to achieve these some state governments are sponsoring ethnic militia against our people, recruiting and arming locals to kill our people and rustle their livestock as seen recently in Benue and Taraba states” The National Secretary recalled that only two days earlier, the media was a washed with the story of Tiv militia gang arrested in Taraba state by the Army who confessed that over 1000 of them were recruited and dangerously armed by the Benue state government to kill the Fulani herdsmen “No doubt the activities of these criminal gangs are putting our people in unbearable pains as they operate with the greatest impunity under the protection of the state government He lamented that “Only recently, we have lost over 1000 people including children, women and the aged and over 2million cattle to this gang.”
Ngeljarma maintained that they are more disturbed today as this state government hide under the self created crises and blackmailing the federal government into releasing to them security operative to achieve their illegal and wicked agenda on the herdsmen.
Further lamenting that the pastoralists had been abandoned to their predators, the national secretary recalled alleged unprovoked attacks on the Fulani communities on the Mambilla Plateau in Taraba state, which he said left 700 people killed, over 20,000 cattle rustled or killed with over 300 communities burnt down.
“In Lau , 24 Fulanis were also killed, in Numan Adamawa state about 82 of our women and children were slaughtered in cold blood by Bachama Militia, while in Kajuru Kaduna state 96 were killed all in a span of 7 months, beginning in June 2017 to January, 2018” All the killings were done by ethnic groups who see themselves as indigenes and the Fulani’s as marauders, even where the latter have been settled for nearly a hundred years. However, up till today, nobody is arrested even when the perpetrators are well known to the victims.
The MACBAN leader after reviewing current challenges affecting their members gave recommendations which they assured could go a long way to dousing the tension in the country and also go a long way to reducing the perennial conflicts to the barest minimum.
“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 Mambilla and 82 women and children killed in Numan and nobody was arrested, we hereby demand the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes without further delay.
“We further state that the refutal of the Emirs 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” He further called for the compensation of all victims following investigation of a committee established for that purpose” Other recommendations they gave include that “The federal government create a Ministry of Livestock Development to attend to the multidimensional needs of the industry, the constitution of a federal judicial commission of inquiry into all these killings so as to unravel the truth and the offenders”.
The MACBAN also disassociated itself from any other groups or individuals out to foment trouble in the country and welcomed the federal government’s current resolve to address the lingering crises and submit themselves for any positive participation to restore mutual and harmonious relationship in the country.
Reacting to the suggestion of government to establish cattle colonies, the MACBAN were of the view that there were no need for them as there were grazing reserves that had been abandoned.
He assured that if government were to make the grazing reserves favourable by providing the necessary facilities, pastoralist would return to the reserves.
The National Secretary said the MACBAN is the premier pastoralist body in the country with a population of over 20million registered members, owning over 50 million cattle”