The war against the Anti-Open Grazing law enacted by Benue and Taraba States took a different dimension as the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, accused Benue State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom, and his Taraba State counterpart, Mr Darius Ishaka, of sponsoring the militia causing havoc in the states.
While Sanusi believes that the leaders of the two states are training militia to attack the herdsmen, both state governments have refuted the claims.
During a meeting with the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in Niger State, Sanusi regretted the attitude of the states towards open grazing.
He said, “We hope that the Vice President will speak to the Governors of Taraba and Benue in particular, on the manner the militias have continued to implement these obnoxious and unconstitutional laws”.
“We hope that he will speak to the governors and the traditional rulers of the Bachama, the Tivs. This country cannot afford ethnic conflicts and hopefully we will sit down with them and find a way forward.”
Reacting to the statement, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ortom, Mr Terver Akase absolved his principal of the allegations.
Akase argued that if the governor was sponsoring the militia, they would not have launched an attack on the state.
Similarly, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Ishaku on Media and Publicity, Mr Bala Abu, described the allegation as “false and unfair.”
“The government has not recruited militia and is not involved in the training of such people anywhere in or outside of the state.
“The government advises the Emir to rather use his vantage position as a traditional and religious leader to complement the peace efforts of the government than raise unnecessary alarm capable of causing disaffection among the peace-loving people of Taraba State,” Abu said in a statement.
He adds that the Anti-Open Grazing Law and the establishment of ranches are in furtherance of the state government’s peace efforts.
The Emir, who was a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, gave the assurance that the Fulanis had agreed to thread the path of peace by avoiding any form of counter or reprisal attacks.
He added, “As you have heard, we spoke to the Fulani guests today, all of them have promised us to put down arms to stop any form of counter attacks or reprisals while this process is given a chance.”
This latest string of criticism comes a week after the Police Public Relation’s Officer, CSP Jimoh Moshood, described Governor Ortom as ‘a drowning man.’
Moshood was obviously angered by the governor’s demand that the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris, resigns from office or be sacked for failing to address the attacks that have led many to their early graves.