Fulani Socio-cultural Association , Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, has denied the claim by Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, that Fulani local army assaulted his guard on Saturday.
The Association condemned the attack, insisting that its members were never engaged in such offensive acts against the state or the governor, even when they have been provoked through several State policies including the enactment of the law against open grazing in the state.
President of the Association, Bello Bodejo, who spoke to The Sun, on Sunday, in Abuja, asked that security agencies to carry out thorough investigation on the matter and unravel the true state of the situation, and prosecute those found to be involved in such attack on the governor.
Bodejo disclosed that Fulani people are no longer in Benue state insisting that the law against open grazing forced majority of them out of the state, while those who stayed back are being persecuted by the State through its officials.
He said: “Our people massively moved out of Benue to other locations because of persistent persecution as well as physical and verbal attacks on them. Any Fulani person in Benue today is either passing by or went to supply cattle to the state.
“We have pleaded with the governor repeatedly to reverse the anti-open grazing law but he refused. We believe that such step will bring lasting peace and harmony in the state. It will enable our people to freely do their business without fear of attacked as being experienced now.
“Unfortunately the governor has refused to reverse the law after several appeals from different quarters. On our own, we decided to approached the Court and we are expecting favorable pronouncement on the matter.”
Bodejo however registered his displeasure with the level of hatred the governor has for Fulani people. “The governor has openly displayed his hatred for Fulani people in several occasions but that not stop us from seeking ways to build peace and public confidence, and strengthen the fragile unity and tolerance among the people.
He charged the governor to be considerate in his administration, as he’s not governor for only Tiv people who are major tribe in the state but for all tribes who are resident in the state and are contributing to the socioeconomic development of the state.
Bodejo, thus, asked Nigerians to disregard the claim by the governor that his people have formed militia with the view to unleash terror on people of the state. “We are not surprised with this recent allegations because the governor is used to speaking against us.
He added: “He always take pleasure in inciting the people against us even when we have tried all we could to make him understand us better and change his mindset about Fulani people. That has failed simply because of his rigid position on our people. Before Ortom, there were several Governors who promoted socioeconomic development and peaceful coexistence among the people irrespective of tribe or religion.”