The Miyetti Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) says attacks on the settlements in plateau state environments where police affirm death toll as at this morning to be over 100 with over 120 persons being killed was retaliatory.
The settlements where the inhabitants were said to be involved in the clash include Barkin Ladi, Riyom and Jos South Local Government Area of the state.
In a statement made available to journalists, the chairman, north-central zone of MACBAN, Danladi Ciroma said: “These attacks are retaliatory. Prodding further, he said “as much as I don’t support the killings of human beings, the truth must be told that those who carried out the attacks must have been on a revenge mission
“There have been recent reports of cow rustling and destruction of farms between Berom farmers and Fulani herdsmen. The people carrying out these criminal activities are well known to the communities, but the communities are hiding them.
“Fulani herdsmen have lost about 300 cows in the last few weeks: 94 cows were rustled by armed Berom youths in Fan village. Another 36 cows were killed by Berom youths. In addition to that, 174 cattle were rustled and the criminals disappeared with them to Mangu. ”
Ciroma said: “Since these cows were not found, no one should expect peace in the areas; even soldiers that went after the criminals to recover the rustled cows were shot by the armed rustlers (who) eventually escaped with all the cows.
“The government of Governor Lalong has done a lot to restore peace, but the criminal elements hiding among their people are the ones frustrating these peace efforts.
“Though the security agencies have tried, they need to do more by being fair to all parties; they should not neglect any report presented by Fulani (about) Berom, because such a report can lead to attacks and deaths if not properly handled.”
He added: “Criminals thrive a lot in Berom communities, but when the Fulani, who are always victims of their crime, react with attacks, they blame the government.
“These communities have leaders. Why hide the criminals? They should fish out the criminals and hand them over to security agencies, to avoid the death of innocent ones.
“As it is today, the Berom man cannot go to the farm and the Fulani cannot breed his cows in Berom land. This can be stopped if the security agencies do more than what they are currently doing. The attacks will stop, as soon as the security is able to stop the youths from stealing Fulani cows”.
Following Developments, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, has ordered the deployment of a special force to the state.
“The intervention is to put an end to the crisis. The Deputy Inspector General of Police (Department of Operations) is being relocated on the directive of the IGP to Jos, Plateau State, to coordinate and supervise the operations on the ground,” said in a statement by Force Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood.
The deployment includes two aerial surveillance helicopters, five Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), three Police Mobile Force Units, two Counter Terrorism Cells, Police Intelligence Unit, and conventional police personnel from other states.
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) also deployed a Mi-35P combat helicopter and an Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance aircraft to the state, even as the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin authorized the deployment of Special Forces to beef up the Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) security outfit in the state.
Reacting to the killings, earlier, President Mohammadu Buhari, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said it was “incredibly unfortunate” that politicians were “taking advantage of the situation.”
He advised: “Nigerians affected by the herdsmen/ farmer clashes must always allow the due process of the law to take its course rather than taking matters into their own hands.”
These follow when the president also received some traditional and leadership of the Urhobo progressive union (UPU) and delta state All progressives Congress Apc Delta chapter, where he described the much agitation for nation’s restructuring as being laced with interest, hence discussion on the matter fails to capture his interest.
President Buhari while speaking at the meeting inside council chambers in Abuja said some of the views being canvassed by interest group on restructuring were not properly coordinated and did not align with the constitutional provisions
This is coming at a time the nation is being faced with much challenges of security lapses with many observers calling for a state police, 1964 framework on regional delineation and resource control.
The group was led by the 101-year-old traditional ruler, His Royal Majesty, Dr. Laiyeguen, Ogbon-Ogoni Oghoro I, the Ohworode of Olomu Kingdom.
Some of their demands include that the Federal Government to look into the issue of unutilized lands, which we voluntarily donated to the military years ago, but which are now being farmed out in parcels and sold for non-military uses. We request that such lands be returned to the owner communities in Urhobo land,” the leaders said.
Among the leaders’ demands was the need for restructuring of the country and reclaiming of Urhobo lands, which had been given to the military, but were now being sold.
Responding to requests made by the leaders, he said his administration would not forget the Urhobo nation in its development agenda for Delta State, even as he pleaded with them to protect oil installations in their communities as they did during the 16 years of the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) rule in the state.