Huriwa To Ortom; Allen Onyema-: Mass Murderers Deserve Punishment:
The Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has faulted the reported apologies tendered by the Miyetti Allah CATTLE owners Association over the killings of Benue state farmers just as the Rights group has reiterated her call on the 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 all across Nigeria.
HURIWA has also asked the Benue State governor Mr Samuel Ioraer Ortom and the Chairman of Air Peace Airline Chief Allen Onyemma to desist from playing unnecessary politics with the core issues of law and order and should be concerned about the restoration of lasting peace and harmonious coexistence of Nigerians of all Ethnicities which can only come about if the armed Fulani herdsmen that undertook the series of rampaging attacks and the unleashing of blood cuddling violence of phenomenal magnitudes are rounded up, prosecuted and sanctioned legally in accordance with the Principles of rule of law. HURIWA said 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. HURIWA expressed disappointing shock at the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to order the arrest and diligent prosecution of all the mass murderers because there can be no lasting peace in Nigeria without justice. "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 just even as the Rights group 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.
HURIWA wonders why the prominent businessman and owner of Air Peace Airline is at the forefront of seeking to reconcile Benue State government with the Miyetti Allah CATTLE owners Association when in the first place there is no conflict between the duo except that the CATTLE traders union endorsed the killings carried out by the armed Fulani herdsmen and their foreign mercenaries in parts of Benue State following their disagreement with the lawfully passed state legislation against open grazing in Benue State which was also adopted in Taraba and many other states whereby the killings by armed Fulani herdsmen became uncontrollable.
HURIWA said: "May we ask Mr. busy-body Chief Allen Onyemma and the politician 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? To us we think this is an abuse of power on the part of the Benue State governor if he stops the demand for justice to be done to the unwarranted attacks that took place in his state and for real justice to be extended to the killers and the platform such as Miyetti Allah CATTLE owners Association which consistently gave their support for the violence and the bloody attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen declared a terrorist group which is what it is by their words of support for the armed Fulani insurgency ".
"HURIWA has read with shock the statement that the Benue State Government said the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore on Saturday apologised to the state governor , Samuel Ortom , over the attacks and killings of people in the state by herdsmen just as we see this as a support for anarchy and lawlessness that the apology on behalf of the association at a peace meeting held in Makurdi , Benue State capital, was remdered by the group ’s National Secretary , Saleh Alhassan , who reportedly expressed regrets over the killings. 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 and here we as a people of Nigeria are being insulted with the irrational media showmanship by politicians who believe that apologies are enough to pay for the grave crimes of coordinated mass murders. This is utterly preposterous and totally unacceptable."
"HURIWA understands that the Secretary of this Miyetti was said to have pledged to ensure peaceful coexistence between farmers and herdsmen in the state according to a statement issued at the end of the meeting by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Terver Akase in which he disclosed that the peace move was initiated by the Chairman of Air Peace , Chief Allen Onyema just as we were regaled with the empty rhetoric that the Miyetti Allah scribe described Governor Ortom as a peace -loving man who stood firmly for the emancipation of his people and gave the assurance that members of the group would embrace the peace initiatives put forward by the governor. We also read that Ortom told the Miyetti Allah group that the enactment of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law in Benue State was to end the killing of innocent people and encourage ranching as the global best practice of animal husbandry even as he the governor said any person or group wishing to rear livestock in the state was free to acquire land and build a ranch , according to the provisions of the ranching law of the state".
"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?".
"For the avoidance of doubts here are the wordings of the Constitution-: 6. (1) The judicial powers of the Federation shall be vested in the courts to which this section relates, being courts established for the Federation.
(2) The judicial powers of a State shall be vested in the courts to which this section relates, being courts established, subject as provided by this Constitution, for a State.
(3) The courts to which this section relates, established by this Constitution for the Federation and for the States, specified in subsection (5) (a) to (1) of this section, shall be the only superior courts of record in Nigeria; and save as otherwise prescribed by the National Assembly or by the House of Assembly of a State, each court shall have all the powers of a superior court of record.
(4) Nothing in the foregoing provisions of this section shall be construed as precluding:-
(a) the National Assembly or any House of Assembly from establishing courts, other than those to which this section relates, with subordinate jurisdiction to that of a High Court;
(b) the National Assembly or any House of Assembly, which does not require it, from abolishing any court which it has power to establish or which it has brought into being.
(5) This section relates to:-
(a) the Supreme Court of Nigeria;
(b) the Court of Appeal;
(c) the Federal High Court;
(d) the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja;
(e) a High Court of a State
(f) the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja;
(g) a Sharia Court of Appeal of a State;
(h) the Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja;
(i) a Customary Court of Appeal of a State;
(j) such other courts as may be authorised by law to exercise jurisdiction on matters with respect to which the National Assembly may make laws; and
(k) such other court as may be authorised by law to exercise jurisdiction at first instance or on appeal on matters with respect to which a House of Assembly may make laws.
(6) The judicial powers vested in accordance with the foregoing provisions of this section -
(a) shall extend, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this constitution, to all inherent powers and sanctions of a court of law
(b) shall extend, to all matters between persons, or between government or authority and to any persons in Nigeria, and to all actions and proceedings relating thereto, for the determination of any question as to the civil rights and obligations of that person; (d) shall not, as from the date when this section comes into force, extend to any action or proceedings relating to any existing law made on or after 15th January, 1966 for determining any issue or question as to the competence of any authority or person to make any such law."
Specifically the Fundamental Rights provision in Section 33. (1) states thus: "Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria."
HURIWA has therefore asked the Federal government to arrest, prosecute and sanction legally all the armed Fulani herdsmen that are responsible for the spate of vicious circle of violence that led to the unlawful killings of over 6,000 innocent farmers and other citizens and the burning of many communities. HURIWA has also tasked the government to rebuild the livelihoods and housing assets lost in all the attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen.