Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Benue State Government has accused the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) of not doing enough to condemn the several open threats and inciting statements issued by the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore (MAKH) and its sympathizers against the Food Basket state.
A statement signed by Commissioner of Information and Orientation, Lawrence Onoja (Jr), a copy of which was made available to Sunday Sun, stated that the JNI was attempting to use the herdsmen attacks in the state to misrepresent facts by portraying the state and Governor Samuel Ortom as creating an atmosphere of religious intolerance in the state.
“Nothing can be farther from the truth. We stand by our earlier statements concerning the herdsmen crisis in the state. There are documented evidences that confirm that the MAKH, MACBAN along with their sympathizers have been making inflammatory statements suggesting that the attacks on Benue State is motivated by ulterior motives beyond a struggle for Open Grazing pastures.
“It is on record that the National Vice President of MACBAN, Husaini Yusuf Bosso had warned that more blood would be shed in Benue if the Anti Open Grazing Law is not scrapped. This was barely 48 hours after the mass burial of the 73 victims killed by herdsmen in January 2018.
“Husaini Yusuf Bosso is yet to be arrested to account for this brazen threat to breach the peace,” Onoja stressed, adding that many sympathizers and followers of the Miyetti Allah groups have at various times made statements suggesting that the quest for grazing land is a continuation of the Fulani jihad.
While positing that the Governor Ortom holds in high esteem, religious organizations and clerics including the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), JNI led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, Onoja however urged these religious Organizations to be promoters of peaceful coexistence and national unity.
“Despite being a predominantly Christian state, there are also Muslims in the state going about their lawful business. We strongly discourage and would resist any attempt from any quarters to polarize our state along ethnic and religious lines,” Onoja maintained.