The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has told the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore that he is ever ready to meet them at the International Criminal Court of Justice.
According to his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, the Governor said this while reacting to media threats credited to the Fulani group whose members have continued to wreck havoc on Benue communities thereby killing thousands and rendering many others homeless.
According to a statement credited to the Secretary General of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Alhaji Saleh Alhasssn, the group has already approached the ICC in The Hague to file a suit against Governor Ortom for allegedly seizing over 25,000 cows belonging to his members and detaining over 4000 herders.
In his reaction to the reported court action, Governor Ortom reiterated his readiness to meet them in court saying: “Tell Miyetti Allah and all its leadership that I am ready to meet them in court, anywhere.
He further explained that as the Governor of Benue state, he was implementing a law duly passed by the legislature and signed into law.
He insisted that the law was enacted in good faith and it remains a “a win-win for the herders and farmers. Unfortunately, what we see is that the terrorists come with the sole intention to take over our ancestral lands and not to graze.”
The Governor also maintained that the passage of the law was part of measures to end the incessant invasion by the armed Fulani herdsmen and halt farmers/herders clashes in the state.
While stressing that the “implementation of the law banning open grazing of cattle in the state is irrevocable”, the Governor advised Miyetti Allah and their collaborators to be ready for a long legal battle.
In his words; “Let those who are threatening to take me to court understand that every law is meant to be obeyed. For the avoidance of doubts, Benue people agreed for the law to be implemented. We are therefore enforcing the law. And anybody willing to do business in the state must abide by the law. I have done what is right and legitimate to protect my people from further killings. That is what constitutional democracy demands,” the Governor stated.
He insisted that “instead of Miyetti Allah directing their members who wish to live and do business in Benue State to abide by the law, they have continued to sponsor acts of terror against Benue people, killing and destroying properties worth billions of naira. As we speak, there are over 2 million of our Benue people living as refugees in IDP camps.”
The Governor also dismissed claims that officials of the Benue State Livestock Guards arrests cattle from neighbouring states.
He declared: “It is laughable to say that Benue State officials of the Livestock Guards go into Taraba or Nasarawa States to impound cattle. We know the boundaries between Benue and other states. As such, our officials do not go outside of the state boundaries to make any arrests of herds of cattle that violate our laws,” the Governor insisted.
The Governor further confirmed: “We have documented evidence of threats and actual killings by Fulani terrorist groups who have been sponsored by Miyetti Allah to carry out violence against communities in the state.”
Governor Ortom emphasised: “The State Government has also compiled the atrocities of Fulani terrorists against Benue people and we are also demanding compensation from the Federal Government for the atrocious activities of Fulani terrorists in Benue State which have led to the killing of over 5,000 of my people, sacking of various communities, destruction of property worth billions of Naira and displacement of over 2 million people by these herdsmen. Make no mistake against this, I will continue to defend my people from this premeditated annihilation. The law is made to be obeyed. No compromise.”