The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has asked the federal government to ignore the request of Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State to declare the association as a terrorist organisation.
Hours after the federal government gazetted an order designating bandits as terrorists, Ortom had said the security challenges in some parts of the country, including Benue, will be adequately addressed if the same position is taken on MACBAN.
But reacting, Baba Ngelzarma, national secretary of MACBAN, described Ortom’s request as “unpatriotic”.
Ngelzarma alleged that Ortom’s hatred for the Fulani “was not in doubt”, adding that “he has proved beyond reasonable doubt that he is an unreliable leader”.
The national secretary said the association had contributed to peacebuilding in Benue, adding that MACBAN has spared no efforts in helping the people of the state to live in peace with the pastoralists.
“We are not at all surprised at the recent call by Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue State for the proscription of our association (MACBAN) going by his antecedents, whose stock in trade is fanning the embers of hatred between peaceful Nigerians that have been living in peace for many centuries,” he said in a statement.
“We, therefore, call on the federal government to ignore this unpatriotic call by a wayward governor who is hell-bent on putting this country into unnecessary crisis.
“MACBAN is not and will never be a terrorist organisation.
“We are fully registered with the regulatory agencies with clear vision and mission to foster peaceful coexistence to our teeming members as well as serving humanity positively.”
Ngelzarma also advised Ortom to “concentrate on delivering the dividends of democracy to the good people of Benue”, instead of “chasing phantom shadows”.