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Formation of Fulani Vigilante Force in Benue will spark war – SOKAPU

…Condemns moves; hails Zamfara Governor. 

…Urges M/Belt governors to copy Ortom.

by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

A socio-cultural organization in Kaduna, the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU), has warned against a planned formation of vigilantes force by a Fulani body, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore.

The union warned that, any attempt to allow the body to form their own parallel vigilantes in Benue State and arm them with weapons would spark up civil war in Nigeria.

A statement issued on Thursday and signed by spokesman of the Union, Mr Luka Binniyat, stated that allowing them to form armed wing would amount to giving approval to all ethnic groups to do same.

“Any attempt, therefore, to allow the Fulani to form, arm, kit and operate an armed wing so brazenly, is to also approve other ethnic groups to do same. In other words, SOKAPU is saying that, a civil war may spark off, if Fulani and other ethnic groups obtain arms for the exclusive reason of protecting themselves as groups under various independent commands,” it stated.

SOKAPU in the release described the planned formation as “unwelcome news that Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, a powerful socio-cultural Fulani group, is forming its own vigilante group, should alarm all Nigerians, who care about the existence of Nigeria, as a corporate entity.

It stated that, “The Secretary-General of the Fulani group, Saleh Hassan, made the grim disclosure four days ago in an interview he granted the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

“Hassan made unsavory and disrespectful remarks on Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State and disparaged him for forming the Benue State Community Volunteer Guards.

“He vowed that his group was floating its own vigilante group to ‘protect’ its members, boasting that they have the funds for such a curious project.

“Hassan ought to have been called for questioning to find the real motive behind such an unwarranted plan and to ascertain how far his group has gone into the scheme. In fact, the group ought to have been banned. That is what a serious country will do.

“The Fulani, even as a large ethnic group, do not have an exclusive state in almost all the states of Nigeria, and are certainly not natives of Benue State or anywhere in the Middle-Belt.

“Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore is not a government and, therefore, cannot make laws that rival that of a government that hosts its members,” it noted.

It is, therefore, absurd as it is preposterous for Hassan to assume that his group can stay on Benue lands and, indeed in other states, and form parallel security outfits with that of their host governments. Such arrogance is rare to come by. 

“With over 200 Southern Kaduna communities sacked and displaced by armed herdsmen and allied criminals after hundreds were killed and more wounded, the sight of an armed Fulani vigilante force on our soil will be a very provocative act that will push other tribes to form same. 

“This group apparently cares less of the sensitivity of other tribal groups. For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Samuel Ortom is the elected Executive Governor of Benue State. By the constitution of Nigeria, he is the Chief Security Officer of Benue State. He is saddled with the most important reason why a government exists: Protection of lives and property of all residents.

“SOKAPU believes that all the laws enacted by Benue State House of Assembly and assented to by the governor, protects all residents of Benue State, irrespective of tribe, religion or vocation. We also believe that Benue State laws do not discriminate tribes or religion. Only breakers of the law have reasons to fear.

“President Mohammadu Buhari must not take this lightly, even though he is fond of glossing over serious matters of security concerns. For the avoidance of doubt, SOKAPU condemns the formation of Fulani Vigilante Force. In fact, the Fulani have been accused of horrific crimes in many communities in Nigeria, given the truth that not all Fulani are outlaws.

“It is for the pervasive bloody crimes that criminal elements of Fulani have been accused of that spurred some state governments to create their own Vigilante outfits. No state government must allow any tribal group to form its own Vigilante group. It is a direct line to insurgency and separatism.

“At this point, SOKAPU wishes to hail the governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle, for forming a volunteer vigilante service, which he will train and arm under the supervision of the Nigeria Police. 

“SOKAPU believes that, all residents of Zamfara State, especially herders and farmers in rural communities of the state, will soon enjoy robust security and pursue their livelihood without worry. This is what is expected of a responsive and responsible leader.

“Unfortunately, Governor Nasir el-Rufai continues to be only vocal against the armed herdsmen and bandits ravaging his state, and has refused to do the needy like his counterparts mentioned in the statement,” it stated.

The union, therefore, encouraged other governors of the Middle-Belt and the North to copy Governors Ortom and Matawalle in their drive to secure their states.

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