The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) North Central Zone Chairman, Danlami Ciroma, has denied that he tied the killing of 200 persons to the slaughtering of 300 cows by villagers in Barkin Ladi, Plateau State.
He admitted that though he made some of the comments attributed to him, he did not say the killings were a reprisal for the killing of cows, because, according to him, at the time he spoke with a journalist on the controversial subject, there was no announcement of killings.
He maintained that he did not issue a statement, insisting that he only spoke to a report with one of the National dailies.
At press time, it was gathered that MACBAN was considering legal options to clear the name of its official.
Recall that everyday.ng had reported that Abubakar Gambo, MACBAN Secretary in the embattled Barkin Ladi Local Government Area, where most of the killings took place had doubted if Ciroma made the comments attributed to him.
It is instructive that none of the MACBAN leaders Everyday.ng spoke with denied that the killing of the indigenes was done by Fulani herdsmen or militia.
Said Ciroma on phone on Monday: “I talked to the journalist verbally, I talked to him on phone. Sincerely when I (did the) interview with him, me and him did not talk about the killings in Gashish district. I told him about an incident in Fan district in Barkin Ladi. The Berom youth use to rustle cows, they rustle about three hundred and something cows…I told him that this thing that is happening, the leaders of the Fulani community, the leaders of the Berom community, sincerely they are not helping matters because this crisis in Plateau has lasted long. We have to be fishing (out) these criminals and handing them (over) to the securities (security agencies)
He said he was aware that the State’s chief executive has been holding meetings with the leaders adding the security agencies have been doing their best.
“The security personnel they are not magicians, they are not spirits, they cannot see these criminals but the communities might know them. You cannot rustle cows, 30 cows, even two cows and nobody say we have seen it, talk less of 100 cows, 80 cows, 50 cows. How can that be possible? You know, I told him that some Fulani youths use to take laws into their hands. When something happens to them, they will go cutting (thrashing) farms, you know, doing all sorts of things, you know, up and down. So, I told him people have to come together and discuss things. I don’t know how he come and write some jazz (rubbish) for me. I am not happy, I don’t know it, sincerely. (sic).
“When I spoke with that guy no any outcome of the killing has come. We didn’t know how many have been killed, we don’t know anything by then. I was expecting when he contacted the security personnel who are in the picture of the killings, he should call me back, he didn’t do that. In the morning, I just saw this thing (statement attributed to him). People have been calling me, up and down. I don’t know it. I cannot support killing. I cannot call it reprisal attack, I don’t know what triggered it in Gashish district because Dashi district is a different district from Fan district where there is some killing. I know sometimes people use to block road and kill our men”. (sic).
Mr. Ciroma said that the much-needed peace between the Fulani and native people on the Plateau cannot be foisted by the security agencies, adding that it is the leaders of the two groups that can diaĺogue and proffer a workable peace.
The controversial comments attributed to Ciroma, which has drawn widespread criticisms, and which he is denying in part are: “These attacks are retaliatory. As much as I don’t support the killing of human beings, the truth must be told that those who carried out the attacks must be on revenge mission.
“There have been recent reports of cow rustling and destruction of farms between Berom farmers and Fulani herdsmen. The people carrying out these criminal activities are well known to the communities but the communities are hiding them.
“Fulani herdsmen have lost about 300 cows in the last few weeks – 94 cows were rustled by armed Berom youths in Fan village, another 36 cows were killed by Berom youths. In addition to that, 174 cattle were rustled and the criminals disappeared with them to Mangu.
“Since these cows were not found, no one should expect peace in the areas. Even soldiers that went after the criminals to recover the rustled cows were shot by the armed rustlers and eventually escaped with all the cows.
“The government of Governor Lalong has done a lot to restore peace, but the criminal elements hiding among their people are the ones frustrating these peace efforts.
“Though the security agencies have tried, they need to do more by being fair to all parties; they should not neglect any report presented by Fulani of Berom because such report can lead to attacks and deaths if not properly handled.
“Criminals thrive a lot in Berom communities, but when the Fulani, who are always victims of their crime, react with attacks, they blame the government.
“These communities have leaders, why hide the criminals? They should fish out the criminals and hand them over to security agencies to avoid death of innocent ones.
“As it is today, the Berom men cannot go to farm, the Fulani cannot breed his cows in Berom Land. This can be stopped if the security agencies do more than what they are currently doing. The attacks will stop as soon as the security agencies stop Berom youths from stealing Fulani cows”