Owerri – As Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore deploys its vigilantes to protect herdsmen and their cows across the country, heads of regional security network in Southwest states, codenamed ‘Operation Amotekun’ have drawn redlines the cattle breeders private security operatives must not cross in the interest of peace.
Pro-Igbo groups like Ohanaeze, Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB and Igbo National Council, INC have however handed an outright ban on the deployment of the Miyetti Allah vigilantes in the entire South East while the Benue state internal security network has also warned it would not have anything to do with the herders. This is even as South East governors are billed to discuss the implication of this development on the security architecture of the region in their next meeting. The Miyetti Allah Vigilance group was formally launched on July 25, while its operatives currently undergoing training are scheduled to be deployed across 36 states of the country any moment from now, according to their leader, Bello Abdullahi Bodejo.
In Oyo state, Gen Ajibola ‘Kunle Togun (retd), the Chairman of Amotekun Corps, declared that the outfit will not cooperate or work with the Miyetti Allah vigilante group under any guise. The former Director, Directorate of Military Intelligence and ex-Deputy Director-General of the State Security Service, told Saturday Sun in Ibadan, that Miyetti Allah is not the Federal Republic of Nigeria that has the power to deploy security personnel across the country.
Togun stated that deploying vigilance group across the country by a non-state actor is illegal and rubbish, adding that the people of Oyo State and indeed other southwest states do not want Miyetti Allah security operatives. According to him, Governors Seyi Makinde (Oyo), Adegboyega Oyetola(Osun), Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), and Babajide Sanwo-Olu(Lagos), would not toy with the idea of welcoming Miyetti Allah vigilantes to their states. I have no business with Miyetti Allah Vigilantes. They are not a state. So, how can they come and have vigilantes across the country? As far as I am concerned, that is illegal, and I am not going to cooperate with them. Of course, I don’t think my governor, the governor of Oyo State, and I don’t think any governor in the South West is going to have them in their states”, he stated.
Would he prefer the Miyetti Allah vigilantes restrict their operations to the north and stay off southwest? He answered: “I am not going to comment on that; that is not my business. As far as I am concerned, I don’t think any governor in Yoruba states is going to welcome Miyetti Allah vigilantes in their states. If any other state agrees with them, good luck to them.”
When asked what he would do if the Miyetti Allah insists on deploying its vigilantes to Oyo and other states in the South West, Togun stated: “No governor in Yorubaland is going to allow them. How can they insist? The owners of the state don’t want them. How can they insist? Who are they? Are they government? They have no cause to do all the rubbish they are doing.”
In Osun, the Director General of Operation Amotekun, Comrade Amitolu Shittu told Saturday Sun that the deployment of Miyeti Allah vigilantes is a welcome development provided they will not operate beyond their boundaries in the South West.
Shittu said “there is nothing wrong with their deployment as long as the mission is to strengthen the security of lives and property. What we don’t want in the South West is hooliganism and vandalism and if at any time it is discovered that the Miyetti Allah vigilantes are frustrating our people, we will stop their operation. I am of the view that their own vigilante group will help prevent cattle rusting, kidnapping and rape which reign most in the north. It is also my belief that their own vigilante will help prevent invasion of our farmlands by cattle belonging to Fulani herdsmen. I will encourage them to operate in the states of the South West, but with caution. They must adhere strictly to all our rules, especially the rules guiding security in the South West and also function in line with our dictates.
“However, failure to adhere to the rules will be dangerous, counter productive and tantamount to abuse of our security system. And, this we shall resist as a people of common interests. We want unity in Nigeria, but this should not be on the alter of disrespect for our own people.” Although the Director General of Ondo State Security Network also known as Operation Amotekun, Mr Adetunji Adeleye said he was not aware of the launch of the Miyeti Allah vigilante group, he however said the state will act in line with other South West states on the matter. His counterpart in Ekiti State, Brig-Gen. Joe Komolafe (rtd), said, ” if the aim of the launching of their Miyetti Allah vigilantes is in tandem with our own operation then we will cooperate, but if it is not in tandem, there is no way we can cooperate. If what they are launching is in tandem with our own operation then there is no problem, all we are after is peace and security.”
Benue will have nothing to do with Miyetti Allah vigilantes
Commander of the Benue state owned Livestock Guards, Linus Zaki has said that the security outfit would abide by the decision of the state government not to have anything to do with the Miyetti Allah vigilantes. The state governor, Samuel Ortom had earlier insisted that Fulani vigilantes will not operate in Benue State under any guise. A statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase said the desperation being exhibited by Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore (MAKH) to float a security outfit across the country clearly shows that the group has an ulterior motive.
Speaking to our correspondent in his office on Wednesday, the Livestock Guards’ Commander wondered what Fulani vigilantes would be doing in Benue when there’s a law against open grazing in the state. The governor has said no Fulani vigilante will operate in Benue and that is the position of the Livestock Guards too. We don’t have cows loitering about in Benue because we have a law in Benue against open grazing. I don’t think they will come here at all and if they come, I don’t think they will have anything to do because we don’t have any cows here. We in Benue have nothing to do with Fulani vigilante group,” Zaki stated.
Steer clear of Igboland, Ohanaeze warns as South East govs take a stand
The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has warned the Miyetti Allah Hore Kautal to steer clear of any part of Igboland with their vigilante group. Ohanaeze said the group should first deal with the high level of insecurity in the north before thinking of securing elsewhere. This is as the South East Governors’ Forum is billed to discuss the issue in their next meeting. The Director General of South East Governors’ Forum, Prof. Simon Ortuanya told Saturday Sun that the Forum must have a stand on the issue if they eventually take off with the vigilante group.
He said, “I think the South East Governors will have a position on that, but they have not developed a position yet but I am sure when I talk with the Chairman there will be a position of the South East in respect to that.”
But Ohanaeze through the Acting Secretary General, Uche Achi-Okpaga described the plan by Miyetti Allah to send their vigilantes to Igboland as an insult and affront on the sensibilities of Ndigbo. Achi-Okpaga who is also the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo said, “That thought is pedestrian as it is derogatory. Perhaps, they know our terrain better than we do and that is why they will leave the North where there is high rate of insecurity to come and secure us here that we have relative security of lives and property. It is a complete insult and affront on our sensibilities. Let them maintain security in their region first before thinking of elsewhere. “Recall that few months ago the Inspector General of Police (IGP) came to the South East and parleyed with our governors and stakeholders on the establishment of community policing. May be they want to stop the IGP to start their own.
“We call on our governors, stakeholders, traditional rulers, town unions and indeed all and sundry to be on alert to ensure that aliens are not brought in, in the guise of vigilante, to come and hatch insecurity in our region. We had coexisted with herdsmen here for uncountable years until recently when the reckless, dastardly and dare devil criminals or bandits masquerading as herdsmen surfaced. As a result, we cannot entertain, in the entire South East, any form of such infiltration. It is better that the Miyetti Allah stops making such statements capable of triggering off more hate speeches and pockets of violence here and there in the country. No region in Nigeria, including the North, will allow aliens to come and watch over them as vigilante. That will be suicidal.”
We’ll chase Miyetti Allah vigilantes back to their land- IPOB
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has vowed that it will chase any vigilante group sent to Igbo land by the Miyetti Allah.
According to the publicity secretary of the group, Emma Powerful, it maintained that the Miyetti Allah security outfit, will meet their waterloo if they are deployed to the East. Powerful said “We know their mission; contrary to the lies they are feeding the gullible public with, they are rather coming to fulfill the order by their father. But we assure them that they will meet their waterloo in the entire Biafra land. We want to declare in unmistakable terms, that no Miyetti Allah vigilante is needed or will be allowed to operate in any part of Biafra land . They may operate in other parts of Nigeria but not on any Biafra soil.
“IPOB is ready for them irrespective of the sophistry of those backing them. We are very formidable and fully ready to defend our land against these vampires. We don’t need them, and will never give them any inch of our land. We shall repel them and chase them back to the Sahel. How can we allow globally recognized terrorists and those who rape and maim after butchering others to police our communities? This can never happen. However, it will be in their interest to restrict their operations to the core North where they came from, and don’t venture to step into Biafra territory, otherwise, they will regret it. We once again assure all Biafrans not to panic but to remain calm as we get ready to usher in our Sovereign State coming very soon. We have all it takes to secure all Biafra borders.”
INC vows to stop Miyetti Allah vigilante in S’East
In the same vein, the Igbo National Council (INC) has vowed to resist the Miyetti Allah vigilante from operating in the Southeast zone. The National President of INC, Chilos Godsent advised the Federal Government to stop them, insisting that their action is capable of constituting a national risk. Godsent noted that Miyetti Allah deployment of its vigilantes to other parts of the country could result to a clash with other various vigilante groups. He said “the Igbo National Council had earlier warned the Federal Government on the implications of the Miyetti Allah plans to infringe on the security rights of other nationalities in Nigeria and the potentials of this plan as threat to national security.
“Again, the Igbo National Council worldwide has also before now warned the Miyetti Allah to restrict the operations of its vigilante outfit to North West and North East regions of Nigeria to avoid clash of operations of the different vigilantes in other parts of the country. We therefore reaffirm our resolve to vehemently resist any attempt to attack and invade any community of the Igbo nation through the criminal and fraudulent disguise of the Miyetti Allah vigilante operations.
“The Igbo National Council is determined to strongly mobilize the entire Igbo race to stand up and defend the territories of the Igbo nation against any form of attack and invasion by the Miyetti Allah vigilante. We are calling on the communities in and around the Igbo nation to step-up and strengthen the enforcement of Operation Ije Aga in their various communities.
“We therefore once again call on the leaderships of the various communities in the Igbo nation to strongly equip their community vigilantes and mobilize them to start keeping vigil as it has been the tradition of the herdsmen to enter their enemy territories at night and attack the communities as far they can go.”