Fulani Socio-cultural organization, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, has apologized to Governor Samuel Ortom and the people of Benue over the series of herdsmen attacks and killings in the state, which claimed over 2,000 lives in the last four years.
National Secretary of the association, Engr. Saleh Alhassan, tendered the public apology at a social event in Makurdi on Saturday.
He spoke at a wedding ceremony where a peace initiative was brokered by the Chairman of Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyeaman.
The occasion was attended by many prominent sons and daughters of the state, including the immediate past governor and current Senator representing Benue North-East, Gabriel Suswam and Senator Abba Morro (Benue South senatorial district).
The Miyetti Allah leader, who expressed regrets on behalf of the herder group over the Benue killings, pledged to ensure peaceful coexistence between herdsmen and farmers moving forward.
He described Governor Ortom as a peace-loving man who stood firmly for the emancipation of his people.
Saleh also gave assurance that members of the group would embrace the peace initiatives put forward by the Governor.
Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Terver Akase, confirmed the development in a statement, acknowledging that the peace move was initiated by the Air Peace Chairman.
Akase said, “The Miyetti Allah scribe described Governor Ortom as a peace-loving man who stood firmly for the emancipation of his people.
“Alhassan gave the assurance that members of the group would embrace the peace initiatives put forward by the governor.”
Governor Ortom was quoted to have re-stated in his response that the enactment of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law by Benue State Government was to end the killing of innocent people and encourage ranching as the global best practice of animal husbandry.
He said that any person or ethnic group wishing to rear livestock in the state was free to come, acquire land and ranch according to provisions of the ranching law of the state.
The Governor noted that the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law protects both farmers and livestock owners, adding that legislation was not meant to promote crisis of any kind.
Chief Onyeama had earlier, emphasised the need for peaceful coexistence between farmers and herders in Benue State, explaining that he personally brought Alhaji Saleh to broker peace between Miyetti Allah groups and the people of the state.
Among the series of killings was the January 2018 attack by Fulani herdsmen in Guma and Logo local government areas in which 73 villagers and farmers – mostly women, children and the elderly, were brutally murdered.
The 73 bodies of the victims ofattack laid to rest at the Industrial Layout along Naka Road in Makurdi after a mass burial service organised by the Benue state government at the IBB Square, in defiance of pleas from certain federal government quarters.