Following the accusation of former vice president Atiku Abubakar as the chief financier and most influential member of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, the apex body of herdsmen in Nigeria by the Northern Elders Forum, NEF Chairman, Unongo; members of the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, has disowned their Chairman, Chief Paul Unongo, on his recent statement that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is the chief financier of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, allegedly responsible for the constant mass killings across middle-belt Nigeria and particularly Benue State.
Leaders of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Benue branch, has been in frontally open opposition to anti-open grazing legislation passed the by Benue government, and has allegedly issued out threats to the people of Benue State; hence the call for their arrest of its leaders by the Benue State government.
A member of the NEF and President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYC), Alhaji Yerima Shettima, told Sunday Vanguard, in a telephone interview, that the forum of northern leaders had not met for a long time and had never taken any position on the killings in Benue and many other parts of Nigeria.
Yerima said in the interview that it was wrong for Unongo to speak on crucial national issues without seeking the position of the apex body, saying that his latest position on Atiku was strictly his personal opinion and had nothing to do whatsoever with the Northern Elders Forum, NEF.
“Our position is that wherever people have committed criminal activity such as the killings in Benue, Rivers, Kaduna and Kwara, it should be given the proper name of criminality and reduced to religious or tribal thing,” Yerima cautioned.
“Criminality has no colouration and nobody should change pure criminality to the colouration of ‘Fulani herdsmen’ or religious inclination.