The 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 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, Dr 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.
The group expressed disappointing shock at the failure of President 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 wondered why Chief Onyemma is playing to the political gallery by trying to ingratiate himself to the President 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 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 insisted that the organisation 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 as a terror organisation rather than the ill-intentioned decision by President 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 latter.
HURIWA wondered 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 Onyemma the politician and the Benue State Governor, Dr. Ortom 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 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, the Benue State capital, was rendered 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 Onyemma which is Anambra and other Igbo states like Ebonyi and Enugu where 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 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 group 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?”
The rights group 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. It has also tasked the government to rebuild the livelihoods and housing assets lost in all the attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen.
Source News Express