‘We Are Afraid’, Miyetti Allah Reacts To Creation Of ‘Operation Amotekun’

The National Secretary, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Saleh Alhassan, says his organisation is afraid that if the Amotekun security outfit is allowed to operate, it could turn out to be a disaster for the country.

Alhassan who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, likened the initiative to the Oodua Peoples Congress (APC) which he claimed has the history of heinous crimes and killings.

“We are afraid because if they don’t tame this monster at the early stage, it is going to be a serious disaster for the country,” he said.

He also described the initiative as a “threat to democracy”.

READ ALSO: Amotekun: AGF Misdirected Himself – Oyebode

Speaking further, he accused those calling for the creation of the security outfit of planning to displace the herdsmen in the Yoruba-speaking states.

“For us, Amotekun, the Yoruba tribal militia is one of the greatest threats to democracy we now have in place. You cannot empower an ethnic militia that has a violent crime.

“Essentially what you have as Amotekun is OPC that have a history of ethnic crimes and killings. And the proponents of Amotekun have not hidden who their targets are. They have consistently said their target is to displace the herders from the Southwest,” Alhassan stated.

His comments come two weeks after Operation Amotekun was launched by the governors of South-western states, as part of an integrated approach to fight crime in the region.

But the Federal Government has described the initiative as illegal.

According to the government, no other authority at the state level, whether the executive or legislature has the legal authority over defence.

“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) has established the Army, Navy and Airforce, including the Police and other numerous paramilitary organisations for the purpose of the defence of Nigeria,”  a statement by the Special Assistant, Media and Public Relations (Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice), Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, said.

Miyetti Allah Demands Apology From Benue State Govt

The Secretary-General, Miyetti Kautal Hore, Mr Saleh Alhassan, has demanded an apology from the Benue State Government for linking the association to the attacks and killings in the state.

Alhassan made the demand on Monday during his appearance on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.

According to Alhassan, the recent arrest of the Commander of the Benue State Livestock Guards, Aliyu Teshaku, has vindicated the association.

“Today, they have arrested Aliyu Teshaku who is alleged to be the Head of the Livestock Guard in Benue who is behind those killings. He is arrested now,” he said.

“People that killed the two clergymen and 17 others in the church are being tried in Makurdi and they are all Tiv people. And they are all members of the livestock guard working for Governor Ortom.

“So we expect by now there should be an apology from the Benue State Government to our association because we have never promoted violence. We have always advocated for a peaceful resolution of the crisis.”

READ ALSO: Benue Sues Miyetti Allah Over ‘Killings’

We Warned Ortom Not To Proscribe Open Grazing ‘Overnight’

Apart from linking Tiv people to the attack on the Catholic church in Benue State that left two priests and 17 other worshippers dead, Alhassan accused the state government of propaganda against the association.

“I have always insisted that Governor Samuel Ortom is on a voyage of propaganda against our association,” he said. “And today, if you look at the arrest made in Benue, with respect to the perpetrators of the conflict there, you look at their ethnicity and background and you look at who is employing them, we have been vindicated.”

Alhassan’s comments come in the wake of attacks that have gripped the north-central state in which many people have been killed and many others displaced.

Allegations making the rounds say that the killings may be connected with the Anti-Grazing Law signed by Governor Samuel Ortom last year that led to a faceoff between the state government and herdsmen.

War of words

Since January 1, 2018, when suspected herdsmen attacked villages in Benue State killing 73 persons, Governor Ortom has repeatedly accused the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore of being responsible for the attacks, vowing not to go back on the prohibition against open grazing.

The governor has also rejected claims that the state government armed militia groups in the state and that it had a hand in the attacks.

To back its claim, the state government said it had documentary evidence linking the association to the killings and it engaged the police in a war of words earlier in the year over the failure to act on the evidence.

In April 2018, the state government filed a case against the association at the State High Court in Makurdi, accusing it of murder and widespread violence across 14 out of the 23 local councils of the state

On its part, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore has rejected all allegations against it insisting it is a peaceful organisation.

As far as it is concerned, the prohibition of open grazing and subsequent actions by the state government are responsible for the violence, claims Governor Samuel Ortom denies.

 

We Warned Ortom Not To Proscribe Open Grazing ‘Overnight’ – Miyetti Allah

We Warned Ortom Not To Proscribe Open Grazing ‘Overnight’ – Miyetti Allah
Saleh Alhassan

 

The Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore Association says it had earlier warned the Benue State government against the anti-open grazing law in the state.

Secretary of the group, Mr Saleh Alhassan, who said this on Thursday during his appearance on Sunrise Daily, also distanced the association from the recent killings in the state.

According to him, the group had warned Governor Samuel Ortom against urgently banning open grazing in Benue as it would generate a lot of confusion.

We told him (Ortom) that look, you can’t go by that way,” Alhassan said. “The reality is that you cannot proscribe pastoralism overnight; is going to be a process that has to encompass policies and programmes that would take a period of time.”

“We have written to the government of Benue State, we have written to all the relevant security agencies, telling them why we are opposed to this law. But what His Excellency Governor Ortom did was to dismiss our organisation, claiming we don’t have members in Benue,” he added.

The group’s secretary described the law as ‘apartheid’, saying it was targeted at ousting the members of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore from Benue.

He also alleged that the law was politically motivated, stressing that the governor has no power to make any law banning herders in the Benue valley.

“What we are saying is that when His Excellency Governor Ortom wanted to create this apartheid law to chase out the pastoralists from Benue valley, who did he consult?” Alhassan questioned.

“If you look at the piece of legislation, it is entirely politically motivated. First and foremost, you cannot create laws that are at variance with the 1999 Constitution as amended.

“On the international rules that transcend Benue State’s, Ortom has no right to decree against access to pastoral resources (land and water) in the Benue valley. The river Benue doesn’t belong to the governor,” he noted.

The group further challenged the governor to come out with evidence to back his allegations that they masterminded the recent killings in Benue.

They also maintained that Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore is a ‘peace-loving organisation’ that would never support any form of violence and asked the security agencies to arrest any armed herdsmen.

On how the government can tackle some of their plights, Alhassan said, :We want a national policy that will address the challenges that are facing the pastoralists in Nigeria.

“The Benue case is not an isolated case, we are talking about conflicts. We have to be holistic in addressing these problems that are facing the pastoralists and farmers’ conflicts that are in this country.”