Airstrike on herdsmen : Sanusi fires back at Ortom, says he has questions to answer
The 14th Emir of Kano and Grand-Khalifa of Tijjaniyya, Muhammadu Sanusi II, has responded to the allegation levelled against him by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State.
On Thursday, Ortom had alleged that some personalities led by Sanusi were attempting to set him up for attacks over the killing of herders in Nasarawa.
Ortom said he was accused of being behind the airstrike that claimed the lives of herders in Kwateri, a community between Benue and Nasarawa states.
But in an interview with BBC Hausa, Sanusi said Fulbe Global which is a coalition of pastoralists’ leadership is not a murderer group rather it protects Fulani culture, restore good morals known with pastoralists, fight for their rights while dealing with recalcitrant in the group.
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He accused Governor Ortom of working against pastoralists by establishing anti-grazing laws as well as setting up a state militia who target pastoralists.
He said, “Governor Ortom is the one who came with a legislation that outlaws Fulani from grazing and established Benue Livestock Guards and armed them. They have killed Fulani. They confiscated their cattle. They extorted and oppressed them. This is not a mere allegation.
“I, alongside Lamidon Adamawa and late Ahmed Joda had a meeting with Vice President, the then IG, Idris and Minister of Agriculture Audu Ogbeh where I presented a document to the attendants revealing that Benue state government would train these ranchers (Livestock Guards) how to use firearms which violates Nigerian laws. The federal government is not unaware about this but couldn’t do anything.
“These people were armed and they killed innocents and impounded their cattle. The recent incident in Nasarawa was not the first of its kind. This is almost the fifth time they have shelled bombs on these people in Nasarawa. Neither the Nasarawa state governor nor the traditional rulers raised alarm that there were terrorists in their domain, let’s bombard them.
“All the air strikes that took place in Nasarawa were masterminded from Makurdi. We must hold him responsible since we know his position against Fulani. It’s only an investigation that will avail him of the allegations. Why won’t there be an investigation to reveal who masterminded the bombardment? And who gives orders to the Air force to always launch these airstrikes?
“We wrote an open letter to the president, making him the commandant in chief. To this moment, there is no statement from the presidency to condole or sympathize with the victims’ families; let alone to talk about compensating them. The presidency is mum about it, on the other hand if one person was killed in the south; they would speak out,’’ Sanusi lamented.