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Miyetti Allah "We are never a terrorist organisation," MACBAN says

The assocaition said it is respected enough to have northern traditional rulers as chairmen and on its board of trustees.

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We are never a terrorist organisation - Miyetti Allah play

National secretary of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Usman Baba-Ngelzarma

(Daily Post)

The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has dismissed criticism that it condones killings carried out by herdsmen, noting that it is a legitimate association with branches all over Nigeria.

There have been fresh accusations about the group's violent leanings in the wake of the gruesome killing of at least 100 people in Plateau state in attacks allegedly carried out by herdsmen on Saturday, June 23, 2018.

While speaking during an interview on Channels Television on Thursday, June 28, 2018, the association's national secretary, Usman Baba-Ngelzarma, said a lot of people confuse the association with other pastoralist groups, most notably the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore Association of Nigeria.

According to him, MACBAN does not speak for all Fulani pastoralists as some of them belong to other groups. He said MACBAN is respected enough that it has northern traditional rulers as chairmen and on its board of trustees.

He said, "Most of the people out there don't distinguish between the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria and the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore Association of Nigeria - they are two different registered association.

"I think the Corporate Affairs (Commission) should please do something about these two associations; they should differentiate between these two associations.

"This one that I serve (MACBAN) has been in existence for almost 30 years to be precise. It was registered on the 12th of February, 1986, not as a political or violent association.

"That is why, today, we have respected northern traditional rulers as chairmen and board of trustees of this association.

"Another clarification - let the whole world know that Miyetti Allah is not the only pastoralist association in Nigeria. There are a lot of other pastoralist association in Nigeria; so not all Fulanis are members of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association. We have our members, Kautal Hore have their members and some other associations too have their members. We don't speak for the entire pastoralist.

"We are never a terrorist organisation. In fact, that is why we have headquarters in Abuja and have offices in all the 36 states of the federation including FCT. In fact, that is why we have elected representatives in all the local governments of the federation today."

While speaking during an interview on PTV Online on Tuesday, June 26, Baba-Ngelzarma said the association is a peaceful one that doesn't encourage violence.

He further sympathised with the government and people of Plateau State for the recent killings, describing it as 'unfortunate'.

Herders-farmers conflict

Herders and farmers have clashed for years over the battle for resources as roaming herdsmen tend to graze their cattle on farmlands, leading to tension and sometimes violence that leads to deaths of people on both sides.

Ever since herdsmen were blamed for the death of 73 people in attacks launched in Guma and Logo local government areas of Benue State in the opening days of January 2018, hundreds of people have been killed in similar attacks with Taraba and Benue bearing most of the brunt.

Since the killings in Benue escalated this year, state governor, Samuel Ortom, has relentlessly called for security agencies to question the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore who have stood in open rebellion of the state's anti-open grazing law.

The association has been vocal about how the law unduly targets herdsmen in a bid to drive them out of the state and the governor has attributed their incendiary comments to be a major factor in the killings in his state.

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