- Arrest Miyetti Allah officials, HURIWA tells FG
President Muhammadu Buhari will, today, meet with Benue political, traditional and opinion leaders, to comprehensively address security challenges facing the state, a source in the Presidency disclosed yesterday night.
The source, who declined to be named, explained that the meeting was inevitable “because of the frequency and scale of such violence and reactions that have trailed the incidents.”
The source described as embarrassing, the number of people who died as a result of repeated violence against innocent people and added that “discussions at the meeting will address the issue of Fulani herdsmen as well as the issue of the arming, training and financing of militia groups by some state governments.”
The source noted that the recent arrest of some armed militia members by the Nigerian Army, who confessed to being armed by the Benue State Government has added a new twist to the saga, and added that “it should not surprise anyone if the Presidency seeks explanation about this from the governor with a view to getting at the root of the state’s security challenges.”
When contacted on the development, Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, confirmed that the meeting will hold but added that he was yet to be briefed about the issues for discussion.
Meanwhile, civil rights organisation and pro-democracy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has asked the Federal Government to order the arrest and prosecution of national officers of Miyetti Allah for the alleged threats made after the Benue State House of Assembly passed the anti-open grazing law.
Apart from their arrest and investigation to establishe their roles in the deadly attacks in Benue, the Rights group wants the Department of State Services (DSS) and the military to set up a national task force to flush out perpetrators of the various blood cuddling attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen across many states of the country.
HURIWA accused the heads of the armed security forces of tribalising national security as shown in the decisive and resolute way they proceeded in killing the alleged ritualist and kidnapper from Rivers State Mr. Don Waney who was trailed clinically by armed security forces to a rented apartment in Enugu state and killed alingside his acolytes.
The Rights group wondered why no single suspect out of the thousands of armed Fulani herdsmen terrorising different farming communities have faced similar fate like that of the slainned alleged mastermind of the January 1st mass shootings in a Rivers state community. The Rights group warned President Muhammadu Buhari to stop treating armed Fulani herdsmen with kidgloves rather than classify as the terrorists that they are and decisively crush them.
HURIWA through a jointly endorsed media statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf also dismissed as gross insensitivity and irresponsibility the campaign for Buhari’s second term which was the basis of a meeting at the weekend between 7 All progressives Congress governors and President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja even when the dozens of citizens whose lives were terminated extralegally in Benue State were yet to be buried and about the same time armed Fulani marauders invaded Gwari communities in Kaduna State and murdered ten persons. “The action of these governors including that of Kaduna one of the deadliest flashpoints of armed Fulani attacks shows them as persons without consciences and indeed some heartless nunch of crass political opportunists”.
In a statement the Rights group says as follows: “on the 7 APC governors who kickstarted campaign for Buhari’s elusive second term, it is the saddest day in the lives of all decent people in this Country and the billions of people watching and observing the happenings in Nigeria for one simple reason that these so called governors displayed the lowest attribute of predators who are all after their personal aggrandizement and agenda. Why dance on the graves of those unjustly wasted and massacred by the rampaging armed Fulani herdsmen? Is it a sign that the killings were systematically planned and executed thereby making the 7 governors to deem it the most appropriate time to announce their slavish support for Buhari’s second term even when the President doesn’t have the evidential justification to canvass for votes of Nigerians when he has failed woefully in the last three years to deliver good governance? The campaign for Buhari’s second term is an aberration and amounts to the desecration of the memories of those Nigerians in Benue, Southern Kaduna; Nimbo in Enugu State and Plateau states who have been killed by armed Fulani herdsmen who till now are roaming the streets and addressing Press conferences threatening Nigerians and behaving as if they are above the law only because Buhari has handed over the entire command and control of the Armed forces of the entire Country to one Ethnic group- Fulani. This is reprehensible and despicable to put it mildly and it is sad that the Independent National Electoral commission which announced that it is not yet time for campaign has not cautioned all those who have clearly breached the electoral laws by jumping the gun to drum up support for the incumbent President to vie for the second term in the next year’s election. The Chairman of INEC is known to be an acolyte of President Muhammadu Buhari who nominated and appointed him together with the biological niece of the President working in INEC as a National Commissioner. It would seem that INEC is scared of warning the APC campaigners to comply with extant statutes and legal provisions on political campaigns. This is unfortunate and it is then right to ask Nigerians to wake up and monitor the activities of the electoral panel if we ever hope to witness a free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections next year”.
HURIWA carpeted the President for contemplating a reward for armed Fulani killings through the proposed cattles colonies even as the Rights group stated thus: “The plan to introduce the so- called cows colonies across Nigeria is unconstitutional and totally repugnant to good conscience. Why should the Federal government deploy public resources to assist the private businesses of only a section of Nigeria? This is discriminatory and must be challenged in the Courts of law. The decision to set up cattle colonies is tantamount to granting rewards to the killer gangsters of Fulani herdsmen and this is indirectly conveying the impression that some highly placed Nigerians within the Presidency are behind the killings by armed Fulani herdsmen as a way of making it look like the Nigerian State is being done a favour if the armed fulani herdsmen accepts to stop their bloody campaign as a consequence of their acceptance of the Catyle colonies across Nigeria. Let the Nigerian people opposed to this unconstitutional act about to be imposed on Nigeria speak out loud and clear and file cases in the different Courts of competent jurisdictions to challenge the legality or otherwise of this wholly discriminatory policy of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration which is aimed at deployment of billions of public fund raised from taxes and exports of crude oil taken from the neglected and environmentally degraded Niger Delta Communities to service the private businesses of Fulani herdsmen. Certainly, the human rights Writers Association of Nigeria( HURIWA) will steategise with other civil society organisations to come up with robust response to this evil policy of setting up cattle colonies with public fund. We fear that these cattle colonies will instigate longstanding civil war no matter how heavy handed or high handed Buhari intends to carry on with setting armed guards to safeguard the private businesses of his fellow Fulani herdsmen. This is the most primitive crime of intimidation that is about to be unleashed on the public space in Nigeria and must be absolutely condemned.”