THE Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, has condemned what it described as the politicisation of the herdsmen and host communities’ conflict across the country, regretting that the herdsmen were always accused of a crime, even in situations where they were the victims of the attack.
Speaking on the heels of the alleged abducting of 10 of its members and confiscating of about 300 cows at Obene in Ogbaru local government area of Anambra State, the South East Chairman of MACBAN, Alhaji Gidado Siddiki cited instances where criminals disguised in Fulani attires committed crimes in some states like Benue, Enugu, Ebonyi, Southern Kaduna and Anambra in order to give the herdsmen a bad name.
The abductors demanded a ransom of N4 million and a gun before they could release the herdsmen.
The herders have attacked their settlement while asleep and their animals are forcefully taken away by the gunmen numbering about 40.
According to the Miyetti Allah leader in the zone, most of the face-offs between herdsmen, farmers and host communities were due to a lack of adequate communication by the concerned authorities, arguing that most of the conflicts could be averted if dialogue and proper conflict management skills were established in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
Siddiki however, commended the Anambra State governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, for initiating a peace and reconciliation committee to address the security challenges in the state and the South East region at large, with a view to achieving real solutions.
He pledged that the MACBAN under his watch in the South East and South-South regions would continue to preach unity and peace among Nigerians irrespective of tribe, ethnic and religious placement.
He appealed to the kidnappers to release his members and their cows, stressing that those kidnapped are merely struggling to make a living.
Meanwhile, the state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu has asked the leadership of Miyetti Allah in the state to come up with more information that would enable the police to commence an aggressive investigation into the matter.
According to the PRO, “Yes, we are aware of the incident but we want the Miyetti Allah leadership to supply us with more information since the kidnappers have established contact and demanded ransom”.
He also assured the Miyetti Allah leadership that the Command and other security agencies in the state would do everything possible to rescue the victims from their abductors.
“I can assure you that the Anambra State Police Command, under the leadership of the commissioner of police, CP Echeng, shall leave no stone unturned till the alleged abductors are rescued and returned to their families unharmed,” he said.
“I put a call to the sarkin following the message he sent to me and I urged him to go to the police station close to him and make a report. This will enable us to do a preliminary investigation since he claimed that the alleged abductors have made contact with the families.
“This will enable the police to plan properly in the investigation and rescue mission of the victims.”
The incident is the latest in a string of attacks on communities across the state in recent months.
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, has condemned what it described as the politicisation of the herdsmen and host communities’ conflict across the country, regretting that the herdsmen were always accused of a crime, even in situations where they were the victims of the attack.