Meyetti Allah Kautai Hore, a socio-cultural group, dedicated to promoting the interests of Fulani ethnic group across Nigeria displayed great candour recently when it apologised for the killings of farmers by its members in the last couple of years .
The Fulani group tendered the apology on Saturday, October 26, to Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State over the killings of the people in the state by herdsmen.Miyetti Allah’s National Secretary, Saleh Alhassan tendered the apology on behalf of the organisation.
While speaking at a peace meeting held in Makurdi, Alhassan vowed to ensure peaceful coexistence of herders and farmers in Benue State and to seek dialogue instead of resorting to fighting in any form.The apology came as a relief not only for the warring group, but for the entire peace-loving people of the country.
In the course of the crises, between farmers in Benue and Fulani herdsmen, which reached their peak between 2016 and 2018 hundreds of men and women, and even children were killed in cold blood. Properties and farmlands as well as crops worth billions of Naira were also destroyed in various communities across the state as a result of the crises.
At the height of the disputes between the farmers and the herdsmen, local governments in Benue like Guma, Agatu, Logo,Naka, Ogbadibo, and Makurdi were constantly under the attacks of the Fulani militia.The exposure of the people of Benue without the necessary protection from the federal government in particular compelled the state government to enact the Anti- Open Grazing Law in 2017.
The crises between farmers and herders had spiral effects on states like Kogi, Nasarawa, Taraba and Enugu, among others. It was spreading like wild fire and the nation’s security and even existence came under threat.
We note with delight that the recent gesture of Meyetti Allah towards the Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom and the people of the state , was as a result of peace initiative brokered by Allen Onyema, the Chairman of Air Peace Airline.
In his response, Gov. Ortom not only welcomed the apology but extended his hands of fellowship to the Fulani and any group that wishes to rear livestock in the state was free to acquire land and do so.
He said any person or group wishing to rear livestock in the state was free to acquire land and do so without fear of molestation.
While speaking also at a peace meeting held in Makurdi, Alhassan vowed to ensure peaceful coexistence of herders and farmers in the State for the overall development of the area.
While commending the Meyetti Alah for its candour and the initiators of the peace effort, we wish to commend the pan-Fulani group for tendering the apology at this auspicious time. It will no doubt go a long way in healing the wounds inflicted on the people by their ethnic militia. It will create the necessary atmosphere for agriculture to be carried on in the state which prides itself as the Food Basket of the nation. While commending those behind the peace arrangement, we are not hesitating to condemn some officials and even ministers in the Buhari government whose reckless statements, actions and inactions contributed to fuelling the crises.
Most of them threw away the spirit of nationalism and truth to be openly on the side of the Fulani ethnic group thereby making the rest of Nigerians to lose faith in the moves of the government to ensure peace. Some of them openly undermined the attempts by President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure lasting peace in the troubled region. While the killings of the people of the state was on high frequency, they were busy lying to the nation that those behind the massacre in Benue and other states were foreigners, especially soldiers from the Libyan crisis. While we unequivocally condemn those officials, we urge government at the federal level to ensure compensation for the people and government of Benue state for the losses incurred in billions of Naira from the unfortunate crises.