The Peoples Democratic Party has described Tuesday’s statement by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, which threatened to force the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, out of office as ominous and revealing.
The PDP said President Muhammadu Buhari must within 24 hours, order the arrest and prosecution of Miyetti Allah leaders.
The opposition party stated that MACBAN’s statement echoed the threats by the All Progressives Congress and agents of the Presidency to ensure the impeachment of Saraki.
The PDP said the statement by Miyetti Allah had exposed the synergy between the ruling party and some troublesome elements.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, stated these in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday.
He was replying to a statement credited to the National Coordinator of the association in Benue State, Alhaji Garus Gololo, who said the group would force Saraki out of office if he refused to resign.
Ologbondiyan claimed that it was abundantly clear to Nigerians that those fomenting crisis, including the bloody clashes in Benue, Taraba, Zamfara, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kaduna, Edo, Borno, Yobe, Enugu, Kogi, Adamawa and other states had political backers.
He said, “Before now, to majority of Nigerians, the Miyetti Allah has always represented the military wing of the APC and the Buhari Presidency. It is incontrovertible that they have now become the fourth arm of government that can determine when and how to forcefully remove the number three citizen, the President of the Senate.
“It is common knowledge that Mr President has come under heavy public criticisms on how his body language has condoned the unguarded utterances and actions of these characters.
“However, in the light of these treasonable and inciting utterances by Miyetti Allah, we demand that President Muhammadu Buhari should within the next 24 hours order the arrest and commence immediate trial of the leadership of this group; otherwise Nigerians will henceforth hold him directly responsible for the utterances and actions of the Miyetti Allah.
“The PDP is aware that Miyetti Allah does not represent the views and interests of the vast majority of cattle breeders or even any ethnic group in the country.”
We are in shock –Reps, Ortom
The House of Representatives, in its reaction, expressed shock over the statements credited to the group.
The Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Abdulrazak Namdas, said, “If it is true that they made the threat, it is shocking. This is very shocking indeed.”
Also, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, condemned the attack on Senate president by Gololo.
According to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, the governor said he found it strange that Gololo and other leaders of the association had not been invited by security operatives for questioning.
Ortom said it was becoming clear that Miyetti Allah groups had not only assumed the position of the ruling party but also influenced decisions of government.
He observed that in the past Miyetti Allah had made inflammatory statements following the introduction of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law in Benue State.
“The Benue State Government wrote several petitions alerting the country’s security chiefs. Yet, nothing was done and to this day, no Miyetti Allah leader has been invited by security agencies for interrogation.
“Miyetti Allah and the All Progressives Congress now sound like one association with similar objectives. Nigerians should compare the tone of the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, when he threatened that the party would force Senator Saraki out of office if he failed to resign and the latest threat by Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association to forcefully evict Senator Saraki from office. The words are similar, the motive the same and the agenda also one,” Ortom said.
The governor urged Nigerians to reject any attempt to turn the country into a republic where the life of a cow has greater value than that of a human being.
Miyetti Allah’s statement irresponsible, treasonable – CSOs
Two civil society organisations also condemned the statement by Miyetti Allah describing it as irresponsible and treasonable.
The convener, Advocates for Good Governance, MacDonald Akhirome, said the statement was a slap on the nation’s democracy and democratic process.
He noted that Miyetti Allah had been posturing as if it had monopoly of power or violence, stressing that the group should be sanctioned for the statement.
“The statement is a slap on our democracy and democratic process, we cannot continue to have such comments from certain faction or group that seemingly have the monopoly of power, it is wrong, and inappropriate.
“The government should be responsible enough to put an end to such statements; I want to see the Presidency reacting to that statement,” the activist said, noting that the Senate President could be removed only through the normal legislative channel.
“In a sane democratic dispensation, people who make comments that are capable of causing rancour are held responsible and the man should be brought to book,” Akhirome added.
The National Coordinator, Advocates for Peoples’ Right and Justice, Victor Giwa, described the statement attributed to Miyetti Allah as narrow and unguarded, insisting that it is treasonable.
He noted that the group was well known for its roles in the herdsmen-farmers crises across the country.
Giwa insisted that Saraki could not be removed from office forcefully, adding that such moves would be resisted by Nigerians.
“Therefore, any call by any person, organisation to forcefully remove the Senate President as the leader of the legislative arm of government is treason and tantamount to a coup plot and must be resisted.
“We as human rights group call on all Nigerians to resist an attempt by any organisation, persons or part of government to forcefully remove the Senate President through any illegal way or means,” the activist stated.
Similarly, a human rights activist, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) in an interview with one of our correspondents on Wednesday, said the threat by the Miyetti Allah Benue coordinator was evidence that the group was the military arm of the APC.