Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has said he is ready to settle the dispute involving him and Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore at the court.
Ortom spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Nath Ikyur, in reaction to threats credited to the Fulani group whose members have allegedly continued to wreak havoc on Benue communities.
According to a statement credited to the Secretary General of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Alhaji Saleh Alhasssn, the group has already approached the ICC in The Hague to file a suit against Governor Ortom for allegedly seizing over 25,000 cows belonging to his members and detaining over 4000 herders.
Ikyur quoted Governor Ortom as having reiterated his readiness to meet Miyetti Allah in court saying: “Tell Miyetti Allah and all its leadership that I am ready to meet them in court, anywhere.”
According to Ikyur, the Benue state governor further explained that as the Governor of Benue state, he was implementing a law duly passed by the legislature and signed into law. He insisted that the law was enacted in good faith and it remains a “win-win for the herders and farmers. Unfortunately, what we see is that the terrorists come with the sole intention to take over our ancestral lands and not to graze.”
While stressing that the “implementation of the law banning open grazing of cattle in the state is irrevocable”, the governor advised Miyetti Allah and their collaborators to be ready for a long legal battle.
“Let those who are threatening to take me to court understand that every law is meant to be obeyed. For the avoidance of doubts, Benue people agreed for the law to be implemented. We are therefore enforcing the law. And anybody willing to do business in the state must abide by the law. I have done what is right and legitimate to protect my people from further killings. That is what constitutional democracy demands,” Ortom said.
He insisted that “instead of Miyetti Allah directing their members who wish to live and do business in Benue State to abide by the law, they have continued to sponsor acts of terror against Benue people, killing and destroying properties worth billions of naira. As we speak, there are over 2 million of our Benue people living as refugees in IDP camps.”
The Governor further confirmed: “We have documented evidence of threats and actual killings by Fulani terrorist groups who have been sponsored by Miyetti Allah to carry out violence against communities in the state.”
Governor Ortom emphasized; “The State Government has also compiled the atrocities of Fulani terrorists against Benue people and we are also demanding compensation from the Federal Government for the atrocious activities of Fulani terrorists in Benue State which have led to the killing of over 5,000 of my people, sacking of various communities, destruction of property worth billions of Naira and displacement of over 2 million people by these herdsmen. Make no mistake about this, I will continue to defend my people from this premeditated annihilation. The law is made to be obeyed. No compromise.”