IN NIGERIA: Tension Rises As Groups Rises Against Miyetti Allah
Dapo Akinrefon, Chris Ochayi & Chioma Onuegbu
The formation of Miyetti Allah Vigilante, a nationwide security outfit by Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, has drawn the ire of other socio-cultural and political groups, such as the Yoruba’s Afenifere, Igbo’s Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Niger Delta’s PANDEF, who described its national outlook as unacceptable.
They contended that the activities of the Fulani security outfit should be localised, rather than giving it national colouration.
The National President and Secretary of the association, Bello Bodejo and Saleh Alhassan, respectively, had disclosed news of the formation of the outfit in a communique issued in Abuja on Wednesday, saying it was aimed at assisting security agencies in checkmating such crimes as kidnapping, cattle rustling and banditry.
We wait for Malami’s response — Afenifere
However, reacting to the formation of Miyetti Allah’s Vigilante, the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere said it was waiting for the response of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami over the security outfit.
Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said: “We wait for the response of Malami, who said Yoruba governors could not do Amotekun on territories they were elected to govern; the law that allows non-state actors like Miyetti Allah, to set up vigilante all over Nigeria.
“This is the type of corruption that kills a country, which this government is condoning.”
In its reaction, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, said Miyetti Allah had been on this for a long time.
Spokesman of the group, Chuks Ibegbu, said in a statement on Wednesday: “I think these Miyetti Allah people are either restless or mischief-makers. They are attention seekers and trouble makers.
‘’If they want to set up security outfits in their states, it should be to checkmate terrorists among them and that should only be in their states of origin.
“Zones are now floating regional security outfits and that is enough. This group should stop distracting Nigerians.”
On its part, the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, said Miyetti Allah was grandstanding by claiming to have established its own security outfit across the country.
National Chairman of PANDEF, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga(retd), who made the assertion in an interview on Wednesday in Uyo, recalled that the Fulani Cattle Breeders had made the same statement before, adding he was yet to hear or see anywhere they had done so in the South.
He said: “I have not seen them here in Akwa Ibom, or anywhere in the entire South. The point here is that are they spirits? Or where are they hiding?
“I have not really got that story directly, but if they are planning that, we should tell them to go to hell, that all other regions are going to put their own security outfit together like the South-West has done. So all that talk is rubbish.
“Maybe they have done that in the North, we don’t know. But in the South, we will stop them. They don’t have the capacity to do that in the South.
“We are not afraid of them, they are only grandstanding. Our people that understand and have the interest of this country at heart should rise against that.
“Why they are succeeding with insurgency in North is because the people there are the ones shielding them, but in the South here, nobody is going to shield them. So like I said earlier, they don’t have the capacity to establish security outfits here.”
Besides Ohanaeze, PANDEF and Afenifere, also reacting on Wednesday, the Middle Belt Forum, MBF, said it was left for Nigerians to decide either to allow the newly-established nationwide Fulani security outfit to operate in their domains or not.
President of Middle Belt forum, Dr. Bitrus Pogu, who spoke with Vanguard in Abuja, said the Fulani were going beyond their boundary because they believe Nigeria belongs to them.
He said: “That is good. It means that their claim that Nigeria is their own; it is the one they are bringing to light.
“And it is up to Nigerians who constitute the bulk of Nigeria, not them, to decide whether or not they can constitute vigilante in peoples’ land. Nigerians will have to decide. And that is the answer I will give them.
“Because, if in Nigeria, they get for themselves what they didn’t bargain for because I don’t think everybody in this country is foolish to allow an invading army to come to their place and determine how their lives could be.
“So, I am sorry that maybe because of illiteracy or their emboldened by the leadership of a Fulani man, that’s why they are doing this. But whatever way, I believe Nigerians will respond accordingly.”
On the position of the Middle Belt region, just like Ohanaeze, PANDEF and Afenifere, he said: “All I am saying is Nigerians will respond accordingly including people in the Middle Belt.”