The pan-northern Nigerian socio-political organisation, Arewa Consultative Forum and the Christian Association of Nigeria, on Monday, challenged security agencies to immediately fish out and arrest members of the Fulani Nationality Movement.
The groups told The PUNCH that security agencies should swing into action by the investigating threat by the hit squad.
They made the call as the police, Department of State Services and the Defence Headquarters kept mum over threats by FUNAM to attack individuals and states that were against open grazing of cattle in the country.
Recall that FUNAM on Sunday night said it carried out the attack on the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, who escaped assassination in his farm at Tyo-Mu community near Makurdi, the state capital, on Saturday.
The group, which attributed Ortom’s escape to a technical error, said the governor would not escape next time. It also threatened to attack individuals or states that opposed open grazing in the country.
The Fulani group, in its statement, stated, “We have our operatives in all southern states. Each will face our sword. We warn collaborators working against the Fulani across Nigeria: We shall get you irrespective of your hiding place.
“We state clearly, any state or individual that opposes RUGA will be confronted. Any state or individual that opposes ranching, we shall get you. Speak against ranching and RUGA even on the Internet: Our noiseless fighters shall find and fix you.”
The police, Defence Headquarters and the DSS failed to respond to inquiries on the threats made by the group when contacted by The PUNCH on Monday.
Several calls to the Force spokesman, Frank Mba, went unanswered. He had yet to respond to a text message as of the time of filing this report at 9pm on Monday.
Also, the DSS spokesman, Dr Peter Afunanya, did not respond to calls and SMS as of 9:06pm on Monday.
The Defence Headquarters did not respond to questions on what the armed forces were doing to prevent the alleged plot by FUNAM.
Calls to the DHQ spokesman, Brig. Gen. Bernard Onyeuko, rang out. He had yet to reply an SMS sent to him at 9.09pm.
But the National Publicity Secretary of the ACF, Emmanuel Yawe, in a chat with one of our correspondents in Kaduna on Monday, said whoever claimed responsibility for that attack should be arrested with immediate effect.
The ACF spokesman said, “The people claiming responsibility should be arrested and the law allowed to take its course.”
It’s disappointing that FUNAM members have not been arrested – CAN
Also, CAN condemned the assassination attempt on the Benue State governor and urged the security agencies to investigate, arrest and prosecute the masterminds.
CAN, which stated this in a statement by its General Secretary, Joseph Daramola, said it was disappointing that FUNAM had not been outlawed and its members arrested despite claiming responsibility for the attack.
He said, “We are worried, sad, shocked, disappointed, and pained at the collapse of the security architecture of the government and the failure of those in charge to rise up to the security challenges. If a state governor is unsafe despite all the security operatives in his convoy, then who is safe?
“We are disappointed that the shadowy group, the Fulani Nationality Movement, that claimed responsibility has not been outlawed and the herdsmen leaders who publicly threatened the governor are still going about their business as if they have done nothing unusual.
“Is the government waiting till they have successfully carried out their evil and wicked enterprise? What are these people turning the country into in this century? If these murderous Fulani herdsmen are not Nigerians, as we are being told, why do our security agencies appear powerless before these criminals? Are they holding superior ammunition? Are they waiting till everyone resorts to self-defence with the attendant consequences?”
We don’t know FUNAM – MACBAN
But the National Secretary of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Baba Ngelzarma, said MACBAN had no business with FUNAM.
Ngelzarma, in an interview with one of our correspondents on Monday, said, “We don’t know them and have no business with them. Those guys have already mentioned their names and you know MACBAN as a responsible body will never make such useless/reckless statements.”
Earlier, the association in a statement distanced itself from the attack on Ortom.
While calling on the Corporate Affairs Commission to review the name, Miyetti Allah to other groups, “apart from our own”, MACBAN called on security agencies to fully investigate the issues and do the needful.
Ngelzarma, made the clarification in a statement sent to The PUNCH titled: ‘We have no hand in Governor Ortom’s attack.’
He said, “We read with astonishment about the reported gun attack on the convoy of the Benue State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom. We, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, condemn this attack in its entirety.
“We wish to use this opportunity however, to state clearly that MACBAN neither met in Yola last week nor anywhere else or at any time whatsoever to plan any attack on anyone else as a matter of fact.
“We wish to disassociate ourselves from the perpetrators. We wish to state clearly that Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria is a trade group duly registered and recognised in Nigeria and abroad as the largest umbrella of pastoralists in Nigeria.
“We are not a militia group, all we pursue is the peaceful trade and interest of our membership which cuts across all tribes in Nigeria. We call on the Corporate Affairs Commission to review the name, Miyetti Allah to other groups, apart from our own.
“With seriousness and sincerity, we call on security agencies to fully investigate these issues and do the needful. MACBAN has been a registered trade group since 1986, over 30 years and its members have lived and plied their trade at peace within and outside Nigeria, respectful of the laws of the land and cultural differences.”
A political movement under the aegis of Peoples Democratic Front has also faulted the attack on the Benue State governor.
While calling on security agencies to rally round Ortom, the organisation told the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), to unmask the identities of those behind the attack and ensure the safety of lives and property of Nigerians.
The National Convener of PDF, Adams Abonu, told journalists that time had come for the Federal Government to end the threat of insecurity and continuous blood-letting in Nigeria.
The Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, said state governors were worried over the Saturday attack on the convoy of their Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom.
He said if a governor who had security details with him could witness such an attack, the fate of other Nigerians without security could only be imagined.
Ganduje spoke in an interview with State House correspondents after a meeting he had with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.