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15 Jan 2018

Fulani herdsmen are killers, not victims, Says Taraba State Governor

The Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku, has said any blackmail and propaganda employed by cattle breeders to turn themselves into victims will fail, saying the herdsmen are the killers and not victims.

Ishaku statement is coming on the heels of the comment by his Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom, that the claim by the herdsmen that some state governments were arming militias to attack them was a lie.

The apex body of Fulani cattle herders, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, in an earlier press conference on Sunday, had said the governments of Benue, Taraba states and others were sponsoring a hate campaign against herdsmen and also arming ethnic militias to kill them.

The National Secretary of MACBAN, Usman Ngeljarma, spoke for the group in Abuja on Sunday.

The MACBAN secretary said, “It is no longer hidden that some state governments are sponsoring ethnic militias against our people, recruiting and arming locals to kill our people and rustle their livestock as seen recently in Benue and Taraba states.”

But the Taraba State governor, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Bala Abu, said the Miyetti Allah was trying desperately to turn the truth upside down.

“The people who were given mass burial were not the Fulani. National television stations and newspapers published the story. No single Fulani man was killed; instead, they (Fulani) were the killers.

“I challenge them to come out with evidence against the governor that he is training ethnic militia against the Fulani. They should also name the location where the training is taking place so security agencies can move in to effect arrest.

“We are aware of their plot to stop the implementation of the Taraba State Open Grazing Prohibition Law which is due to commence soon, but the governor won’t be deterred in his quest to bring peace to the state,” he said.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Taraba State Governor on Public Affairs, Emmanuel Bello, in an email to The PUNCH, also said the government had not established any militia camp anywhere, as the governor believed in peace.

“The Lau crisis is under serious investigations to establish the remote and immediate causes. The truth will unravel everything with time, “ he said.

Also, the Benue State governor in a statement by his Media Adviser, Mr. Tahav Agerzua, denied   that militias arrested by the military were recruited and trained by the state government.

The statement read in part, “Governor Ortom is widely recognised for his disarmament policy which brought the amnesty programme, leading to the recovery of about 700 arms and ammunition with over 800 youths laying down their weapons to embrace the programme.

“It is also on record that the present administration inherited the Taraba State Civilian Joint Task Force from the previous government but later proscribed it.

“The Benue State Government believes in the use of conventional security agencies to protect the people.”

“Even in the face of renewed killing of innocent people by herdsmen in the Logo and Guma local government areas, Governor Ortom did not let the people resort to self -help. The governor acted swiftly to get the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari for the deployment of more troops in troubled parts of the state.

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