Benue Killings: ALBNI Demands Prosecution of Miyetti Allah’s Leaders
The Federal Government has been urged to immediately order the arrest and prosecution of the national and Benue state leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) for perceived complicity in the dastardly murder of 73 people in the state on the eve of the new year.
A civil society group, Accountable Leadership For Better Nigeria Initiative, ALBNI, stated this in a release jointly signed by its President, Mr. Remi Adebayo and Secretary-General, Mr. Ibrahim Dan-Halilu in Abuja on Monday.
ALBNI noted, “that the Buhari administration has not shown sufficient commitment to bringing the perpetrators and sponsors of the criminal acts to justice.
“We therefore call on President Muhammadu Buhari to take decisive stand against attacks on innocent communities by murderous herdmen, regardless of their place of birth.
‘We wish to remind the president of the oath of office he swore, to protect every Nigerian citizen, not minding their ethnic, region or religion backgrounds, and to conduct his official duties without fear or favour,” the statement read.
“It's regrettable to note that instead of prosecuting the perpetrators of Benue killings, President Muhammadu Buhari was more concerned with providing safe haven for his Fulani kinsmen to practice their herding business to the detriment of the security and safety of the natives.
ALBNI frowns at government's efforts to impose cattle colonies on the nation without wider consultation and exhaustive engagement with natives on the proposal before hurried but similarly suspicious implementation of the scheme.
“We believe strongly, that the cattle colony alternative recently announced by the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh is preemptive of the Vice President Osinbajo-led committee, set up by President Buhari to find solutions to the intractable problem of farmers-herders conflicts, and does not reflect the aspirations of majority of those affected by the herdsmen attacks.
“It was a unilateral approach that would neither resolve the crises nor build enough trust for any community to host the colonies and their beneficiaries,” ALBNI argued.
The group cautioned that any solution where concerned communities and their representatives are isolated would not yield positive results, in view of the growing suspicion and loss of faith in the interest of the federal government to genuinely protect lives and properties in the affected communities.
“We therefore call on the FG to suspend the take-off of the cattle colonies and engage with communities, states and national lawmakers in affected states, in order to engender a widely and mutually acceptable policy that will serve the interest of both farmers and cattle herders without putting peace and security of the nation in jeopardy.
“The President on his part, should restructure the lopsided security apparatus of the nation to make it balanced and command national confidence and acceptance. The current lopsided structure does not inspire hope, confidence and efficiency,” the group said.
ALBNI said aside these piecemeal solutions, the Buhari-led government should be courageous towards uniting the already fragmented nation by listening to voices from different parts of the country demanding for the structural rejig of the nation.
The group further demand the release of white papers on previous panel of inquiries on Fulani/farmers and other communal crises in order for government to fast-track implementation of their recommendations; saying this would address some burning national issues, including that of attack and reprisals and as well reduce the culture of impunity which has assumed endemic level in the country.