Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Special Adviser to Benue State Governor on Project Monitoring and Evaluation, Alhaji Isa Usman, has knocked the Secretary General of Jama’atul Nasir Islam (JNI) Dr. Abubakar Khalid Aliyu, for accusing Governor Samuel Ortom of linking the herdsmen killings across the state to the continuation of the late Usman Danfodio’s Jihad.
Usman, while addressing newsmen, in Makurdi, on behalf of all Muslim political appointees of the state government, on Thursday, described Aliyu’s statement as unnecessary, unreasonable and capable of causing religious disharmony and violence in the country.
Positing that it was also capable of painting Governor Ortom black in the eyes of the Muslims in the country, the governor’s aide stated that the governor’s remark about Jihad was not intentional and in any way targeted to take Nigerian Muslims for granted or denigrate the Muslim community as acclaimed by the JNI Secretary General.
In the words of Usman, ”It is a well known fact that Governor Ortom holds in high esteem religious leaders, religious organizations and clerics including JNI led by the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar. The Muslim government appointees call on all to join hands and promote peaceful coexistence in the interest of national unity.
Usman noted that Governor Ortom in the said interview which the JNI Secretary General made reference to, was only responding to a question put across to him where he referred to several threats by Fulani Nationality Movement (FUNAM), Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore (MAKH) and Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) to unleash Jihad on the state.
“They (FUNAM, MAKH, MACBAN) had consistently held press conferences and publicly declared that the attacks on Benue State were a Jihad and struggle for the control of natural resources in the Benue valley. One then wonders why such reference should be scored as offensive and denigrating.”
He stressed that the enactment of the anti open grazing law was not targeted to victimize or restrict any particular individual or tribe but to address and no the frequent farmer/herders crisis in the state.
The governor’s adviser maintained that before the anti-open grazing law was implemented in the state, the governor constituted a team of eminent Muslim personalities to undertake an advocacy visit to all the northern Emirs.
“This was successfully done and at no point was any speech made against Governor Ortom, rather, all the emirs embraced the governor’s good intention of proffering lasting solution to farmers/herders crisis in the state.”