BENUE, Nigeria – A civil rights and advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has faulted the apologies tendered by the Miyetti Allah over the killing of Benue State farmers.
OgeneAfrican reported that the Fulani Socio-cultural organization, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, on Saturday apologized to Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State over herdsmen attacks and killings in the state.
National Secretary of the association, Engr. Saleh Alhassan made the apology during a peace initiative brokered by the Chairman of Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyeama, On Saturday.
Alhassan expressed regrets over the Benue killings and pledged to ensure peaceful coexistence between herdsmen and farmers moving forward.
Reacting in a statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, the rights group charged President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to declare Miyetti Allah Cattle Owners Association as a terrorist group for actively supporting the mass killings by armed Fulani herdsmen across Nigeria.
The statement reads, “Nigeria is a country of laws and not that of the whims and caprices of those in the corridors of political powers which translate to the need for all persons and authorities to be guided by and abide by the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to avoid anarchy and doom.
“The President must respect his oath of office by making sure that the tribal and religious affiliations he shares with the suspected armed Fulani bandits do not stop him from decisively abiding by the Constitution of Nigeria by bringing the full weight of the law to bear on the mass killers. Armed Fulani herdsmen are treated as sacred cows and this tendency is unlawful and unconstitutional.
“HURIWA wonders why Chief Allen Onyemma is playing to the political gallery by trying to ingratiate himself to the Presidency of Muhammadu Buhari who has consistently resisted the groundswell of clarion calls from diverse sections of Nigerians that the Federal government ought to have declared MIYETTI ALLAH CATTLE OWNERS ASSOCIATION as a terrorist group for their blanket endorsement of the attacks on communities all across the Central Nigerian cities and villages by armed Fulani herdsmen and bandits.
“HURIWA insists that the organization of Cattle sellers known as MIYEYTI ALLAH is guilty of crimes against humanity by association because it officially and tacitly gave support for the killings in parts of Jos as well as other killings in parts of Kaduna and Taraba states.
“HURIWA has asked the federal government to declare Miyetti Allah CATTLE owners Association as a terror organisation rather than the ill intentioned decision by President Muhammadu Buhari in declaring the Indigenous peoples of BIAFRA (IPOB) and the Islamic Movement of Nigeria lately as terrorist groups just for peacefully and constructively canvassing self determination and for the release from illegal detention of their religious leader and his wife in the case of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria.
“May we ask Mr. busy-body Chief Allen Onyemma and the Benue State governor Mr. Samuel Orton if the apologies by the Miyetti Allah CATTLE owners Association will wake up those gruesomely slaughtered from the land of the dead and if the hundreds of citizens and innocent people slaughtered by armed Fulani herdsmen including worshippers and Catholic Priests will die just like chickens and their killers move around the corridors of power and are not brought to justice?
“This is like dancing naked on top of the graveside of the hundreds of victims of the needless and unwarranted attacks in Benue State and many other states including the home state of Chief Allen Onyemma which is Anambra and other Igbo states like Ebonyi and Enugu whereby armed Fulani herdsmen unleashed violence and raped women and girls with reckless abandon and not one suspect has been arrested and jailed for these crimes against humanity.
“HURIWA wants Chief Onyema who emphasised the need for peaceful coexistence between farmers and herders in Benue State and disclosed that he personally brought Miyetti Allah CATTLE owners Association to broker peace between the Miyetti Allah and the people of the state to tell Nigerians what becomes of the thousands of orphans, widows and widowers thrown into mourning by these coordinated violence of armed Fulani herdsmen now that he is arranging the so-called peace and reconciliation amongst the parties of killers and the innocent victims and on which terms of settlements? Is it that the Constitution which clearly outlaws mass killings in Section 33(1) and section 6 which confers judicial powers of the Federation are to be rubbished on the altar of political opportunism?”.
It asked the Federal government to arrest, prosecute and sanction legally all the armed Fulani herdsmen that were responsible for the spate of vicious circle of violence that led to the unlawful killing of over 6,000 innocent farmers and other citizens and the burning of many communities.
HURIWA also tasked the government to rebuild the livelihoods and housing assets lost in all the attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen.