Miyetti Allah Are Purveyors Of Death And Destruction – Mdzough U Tiv, Idoma National Forum and Omi Ny’Igede

The three principal social-cultural organisations in Benue State,  Mdzough U Tiv, Idoma National Forum and Omi Ny’Igede, in a response to a press conference held by the Miyetti Kautal Hore (Miyetti Allah) on the 19th of November 2017, expressed the view that the Miyetti Allah are culpable in the destruction of lives and properties being visited on Benue by Fulani Herdsmen.

This was contained in statements today released in a press conference held in Markudi. According to Engr Ujege (President Mdzough U Tiv ) who spoke on behalf the group, the Benue Open Grazing Prohibition Law was enacted to satisfy the yearnings of the peoples of Benue and to prevent the Miyetti Allah from using the agency of the  Fulani Herdsmen to carry out deadly attacks on the peaceful people of Benue in order to get for itself, a place to forage without challenge.

Please read the full text below:

MDZOUGH U TIV, IDOMA NATIONAL FORUM AND OMI NY’IGEDE REPLY TO THE PRESS CONFERENCE ON NOVEMBER, 19TH, 2017 ADDRESSED BY MIYETTI ALLAH KAUTAL HORE IN ABUJA DENOUNCING THE BENUE STATE ANTI-OPEN GRAZING LAW.

DATE: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 24TH, 2017.

VENUE: HALF HEAVEN, MAKURDI BENUE STATE.

The attention of the three principal socio-cultural organisations in Benue State, Mdzough U Tiv, Idoma National Forum and Omi Ny’Igede, has been drawn to a press conference held by Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore in Abuja on November, 19th, 2017 denouncing the Benue State Anti-Open grazing law.

The arguments put forward by the Miyetti Allah are not only false, frivolous and inciting but aimed at diverting attention from the real issues and immense benefits accruable from the anti-open grazing law.

The anti-open grazing law is the outcome of the yearnings of the people of Benue State who desire peace and want lasting solutions to the incessant herdsmen/farmers clashes which had often led to the pillage of our communities, the massacre of our men, women and children as well as the destruction of our farms, homes, raping of our women and children and excessive unrest.

The masterminds of the law are the people and not the government, not the politicians nor religious leaders as being falsely portrayed by the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore in their press conference. The people behind the law include all Benue State residents/citizens, the Tiv, Idoma, Igede, Hausa, Fulani, Igbo, Yoruba, Etulo, other Nigerians and foreigners.

Between 2013 and 2016, the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore sponsored herdsmen have carried about forty major and deadly attacks in fourteen of the twenty-three Local Government areas of Benue state. We paid dearly for the atrocities of the herdsmen with over two thousand lives of our men, women and children. Till date over five hundred persons are missing while over half a million people were displaced and the future of almost a million youths are truncated. Over nine thousand households were affected by the various attacks carried out by the herdsmen while properties worth ninety-five billion naira were destroyed in 2014 alone.

This struggle, therefore, is for the emancipation of our people from slave drivers and preservation of lives and properties as well as freedom from suppression which our people have suffered over the years under the yolk of authoritarians which is still unabated.

The Miyetti Allah had said the species of cows they have were not good for ranching in the country but they have not presented any scientific or empirical proofs to show why and how their cows cannot be ranched. The rearing of cattle is done through ranching in all weather – be it tropical or temperate and in various vegetations – such as in America, Canada, Egypt, South America, Asia, Kenya, South Africa and Saudi Arabia. Even if their cows were not good enough, it is better to change the species of cows than create situation and excuses for unnecessary slaughter of our people and destruction of our properties and land.

In Nigeria, even the President, Muhammadu Buhari has a ranch in Daura with the same breed of cattle, while the LPZ Milk is encouraging the ranching of cows in Kano. In Benue state, the same breed of cows is being ranched by individuals. Already over a hundred Fulani cattle breeders in Benue have indicated their willingness to operate ranches as reported in the Daily Trust Newspaper of Wednesday, November 8th, 2017. This put a lie to the claim that the cattle in Nigeria cannot be ranched. We can say categorically that their cows are very suitable for ranching. Additionally, modern research can produce an improved breed of the local stock as well.

Our cry has nothing to do with the political campaign but the survival of the people which we seek before Nigerian and the world. The anti-open grazing law, will not die because it provides the panacea for our peoples’ survival and for peace.

The people of Benue state are prepared and determined to ensure its success despite the ill will of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and its insidious attempt to truncate it. Section 100 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended empowers the State Houses of Assembly to make laws for the state. Our State Governor, Samuel Ortom has been given the mandate by his people to stand firm on this position and the emancipation of our people for which we see victory already in sight.

We also want to state categorically that the anti-open grazing law does not restrict the movement of pastoralists or any livestock breeder for that matter but dictates the mode of movement of their livestock. Section 19 (4) of the law prohibits movement of livestock on foot from one destination to another and directs such movement by rail wagon, truck or pickup wagon. The law does not prohibit grazing but restricts such actions to within ranches. This also shows how untruthful the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore has tried to portray the law.

It must also be stated here that the exigencies of current trends especially increasing population dictate that new trends must be developed to upgrade our farming methods and animal husbandry. The anti-open grazing law is, therefore, a pacesetter in this direction and should, therefore, be embraced by all men of goodwill who wish our state well. It, therefore, cannot be oppressive and negative as being falsely portrayed by Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore.

Nothing in the law infringed on the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria particularly item 62 of the second schedule titled legislative power: Part 1: Exclusive Legislative List. This item 62 exclusively deals with external trade and enforcement of standards of goods and commodities, grades and standard of quality and registration of business names. It has nothing to do with the movement of goods within and among states inside Nigeria!!

Laws are not made for a specific section of the society but for every sector. The anti-open grazing law is meant to protect the interest of the generality of the public and above all protect and preserve lives and property. It has taken cognisance of both pastoralist and crop farmers and the prevention of herdsmen and farmers clashes. It also provides in its section 20 against cattle rustling.

But in their press conference, the Miyetti Allah has only sought that the law should only take cognisance of their sociology, economic interest and production patterns. This shows their selfishness and repressive attitude towards other Nigerians. They would only desire what suits them and nobody else.

In many of our press briefings in the past, we drew attention to the various threats by the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore to invade and cause mayhem in Benue State. In all its recent press briefings, the Miyetti Allah has persisted in such threats. On the 23rd of October, 2017 at a press conference in Abuja, the Miyetti Allah called on its members to converge on Benue land. On the 19th of November, 2017, the association’s Secretary, Saleh Alhassan renewed such threats when he claimed that the anti-open grazing law can only attract violence. On the basis of these new threats, we wish to renew our call on the Federal Government to arrest and prosecute the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore who are purveyors of death and destruction.

The three socio-cultural organisations representing the Tiv, Idoma and Igede want to categorically reaffirm that the anti-open grazing law is not aimed at any particular individual, tribe or organisation. The law does not have a single word of Fulani inside. It did not particularly affect one particular livestock such as the Fulani livestock but all types of livestock. The falsehood of the Miyetti Allah’s claim over the non-availability of land was debunked by the desire of 100 Fulani cattle breeders as earlier stated to Allah own ranches in Benue. There is a clear process for acquisition of land which members of Miyetti Allah should follow. Miyetti Kautal Hore should show evidence that they have followed this process and were not granted their request. It must be noted that a grace of five months was given for livestock breeders to prepare for implementation of the law and during this time and to the best of our knowledge nobody applied. This evidently is a clear case of mischief intended to blackmail the state and her people.

We want to condemn categorically the assertion made by Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore that there is no single case of trespass of land in Benue state. If a herdsman takes his cow to damage and consumes farm products, is it not trespass? If you burn some body’s house and properties, is it not trespass? If you enter some body’s residence and you kill him and his family, is it not trespass? The crux of the matter is the horrendous attacks on the people of Benue state by the herdsmen which amounts to trespass and not cattle rustling and banditry as Miyetti Allah wants the world to believe. Our people are not thieves because till date, there is no case of cattle rustling in Benue state. Even so, the anti-open grazing law has made adequate provision against cattle rustling. They are also several laws to deter criminality in Benue State such as Kidnapping and Cultism.

Finally, the three principal socio-cultural organisations in Benue State, the Mdzough U Tiv, Idoma National Forum and Omi Ny’Igede wish to call on patrons of the Meyitti Allah Kautal Hore to call its leadership to order. The Miyetti Allah must stop fanning embers of hatred and disunity and pursue the path of peace and good neighbourliness. On our part, we the people of Benue state stand firmly in support of the anti-open grazing law and are willing to partner with any group that is on the same page with us.

Signed

Chief Engr. E.I.T. Ujege, FNSE, MFR

President General,

Mdzough U Tiv

Barr. Amali Adoya Amali

President,

Idoma National Forum

Chief. Ode Enyi

President General

Omi Ny’Igede

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