Abuja – Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore leader Alhassan Saleh did not apologise for killings in Benue State, the facilitator of weekend’s peace meeting has said.
The Chairman of Air Peace, Chief Onyema Allen, described the claim as incorrect.
The businessman said his intervention in the herdsmen-farmers’ crisis in Benue State was altruistic and devoid of any political consideration.
At the weekend’s meeting attended by dignitaries, including Governor Samuel Ortom, Onyema requested the warring parties to embrace peace.
Saleh had reportedly apologised for all that happened, while Ortom said he was only interested in defending his people.
Onyema said: “Saleh Alhassan, who is the leader of the Miyetti Allah, never admitted to the killings. He never said they were the ones that killed anybody. What he said was that, ‘we are here to make peace with the state’.
“On Saturday, I called him because I knew his group had been having a running battle with the state government. I felt there should be peace in the country and there had been wrong perceptions of what the real situation is.
“The stadium was full and I started by preaching peace to the people of Benue. I told them that somebody was in their midst who they may not want to see before now. I said their governor was peaceful and the man was peaceful. I said he was Saleh Alhassan of Miyetti Allah and there was silence.
“I said anything of peace pleases God and today, both sides most forgive each other for whatever it was; rightly or wrongly, they must apologise to each other and hold hands.
“So, he did not apologsie for killings, which he did not do or say he did. What he said was, ‘if we had wronged anybody in this conflict, we are sorry.’ The government’s side also said the same thing.”
“As a Nigerian, you are a scammer, a thief, a drug pusher, everything evil in the eyes of the outside world. That is what we call stigma. You don’t know the number of Nigerians that are being punished for what they did not do, just because they are Nigerians.
“The same stigma is what the Fulani of this country are suffering now. I am not excusing killings and the Fulani herdsmen. But the truth is that the Fulani race is suffering from stigma. Once you tell anybody you are a Fulani, everybody starts looking at you as if you are evil. So, people are not giving them opportunities. Everybody is being wrongly stigmatised,” he added.
Onyema explained that he did not do anything, including conveying Nigerians from South Africa with his airline, for politics.