A group known as Benue Youth Forum, BYF is demanding security agencies to arrest and prosecute the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore for perpetrating killings in Benue State.
The group also describes as “laughable, baseless and empty” a threat by Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore to drag Governor Samuel Ortom to the International Criminal Court of Justice at the Hague for allegedly seizing their cattle and arresting their members.
The Benue Youth Forum was reacting to threats by the Fulani socio-cultural group, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore whose National Secretary, Alhassan Saleh was recently quoted to have said they would sue Governor Ortom to the ICC for “seizing 25,000 of their cows and arresting 400 of their members without any cause”.
The President of the Benue Youth Forum, Terrence Kuanum who addressed a press conference Monday, August 15, 2022 in Makurdi stated that Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore are known to be responsible for incessant massacre of Benue people and demanded their arrest and prosecution.
Parts of the statement read:
“it has become imperative for us, the Benue Youth Forum, to react to recent threats by a Fulani socio-cultural group, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore who are known to be responsible for incessant massacre of Benue people to drag Governor Samuel Ortom to the International Criminal Court of Justice at the Hague for allegedly seizing their cattle and arresting their members.
“The group which made the laughable threats in a press statement by its National Secretary, Alhassan Saleh raised lame allegations that Governor Ortom seized 25,000 of their cows and arrested 400 of their members without any cause.
“Granted that Governor Ortom had while unveiling the Benue Community Volunteer Guards, BVCGs in Makurdi, said the government had secured the conviction of over 400 Fulani herders who had besieged the state and had seized over 25,000 cows, we all know that it was done within the law.
“While we are not worried over the empty and baseless threats to drag the Governor the ICC, we are once again concerned that this group that has claimed responsibility for the massacre of Benue people and sacking of communities and creating a humanitarian crisis is reminding us that cows are more important than human lives.
“Even though the Miyetti Allah leadership further contradicted itself by saying in one breath that their members were not in Benue State, and claiming in another that they were being maltreated in the state, “thereby making the whole issue confusing and nor worthy of much attention, we have to put some records straight.
“It is common knowledge that there is a law prohibiting open grazing in Benue state. When the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of the state was enacted in 2017, the leadership of Miyetti Allah addressed a press conference and threatened to resist the legislation violently.”
The BYF further stated that “There were also several threats by a group known as Fulani Nationality Movement, FUNAM to ensure that there was no peace in Benue unless the law banning open grazing was repealed.
“We are all aware that the same Fulani Nationality Movement claimed responsibility for the attempted assassination of Governor Ortom in March 2021 and several other threats on his life by the group and Miyetti Allah.
“That they have resolved to make Benue a killing field as long as the people do not surrender their land for them to occupy is nothing new, except that little or nothing has been done by the Federal Government to tame them, despite repeated calls by Governor Ortom.
“The Ortom administration has persistently told the herdsmen that they are free to acquire land and establish ranches if they wanted to rear cattle in Benue, but they keep insisting that the land belongs to them and there were cattle routes in Benue hence they must keep grazing openly.
“These killer-herdsmen who bear sophisticated weapons and carry out nefarious activities are bent on continually destroying lives and property in our communities and there seems to be little concern from the federal government to call them to order.
“Even as we speak, the group that has been identified as one of the most dangerous terrorist organizations in the world is still unleashing terror on the people and has never stopped even for a moment, creating a huge humanitarian crisis in the state after killing over 5,000 people, destroying property worth billions of naira and displacing about two million people from their ancestral lands.
“Funnily enough, these same people who have the blood of innocent women, children and the elderly on their hands are the ones crying blue murder now. But one thing is certain; whichever way we look at the situation, these characters value the lives of animals more than human lives.”
The statement added that “The Benue Youth Forum therefore wishes to tell the Miyetti Allah that they are embarking on an exercise in futility as their empty threats to seek justice at the ICC would remain what they are – futile efforts.
We also want them to know that the crimes they have committed against humanity in Benue state and other parts of the country shall not go unpunished.
“They may be enjoying the sympathy and protection of some powerful persons in authority now; but that will not be forever, as they shall be brought to justice sooner or later.
As the Governor and the entire Benue people have always reiterated, there is no land for open grazing in the state, so anyone who wants to rear cattle in the area should go through the normal procedure to acquire lands for ranching.
“We do not expect the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore to pretend not to be aware that the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of the State is not targeted at any group or tribe; but seeks to prevent incessant clashes between farmers and herders.
“The BYF also calls on security agencies to rise to the occasion as threats such as the one made by the Miyetti Allah always come with renewed momentum from the killer-herdsmen as they continue their desperation to kill, main, displace and occupy our lands.
“We demand the arrest and prosecution of the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore for the attacks on Benue people. This group has proven time and again that it is responsible for the atrocities that armed herders have committed in Benue State in the last six years. Only their prosecution and punishment can assuage the pains they have inflicted on our people.”