A Fulani group called Miyetti Allah has denied an allegation by Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State that Fulanis were planning to launch spontaneous attacks in the state.
Instead, the group said they would only fight back in self defense if they were attacked by members of the Berom ethnic group.
In a statement obtained by SaharaReporters and signed by Sale Bayari, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) decried Governor Jang’s “false, malicious and inciting statement.” The group credited the governor with alleging that “Fulani were planning and recruiting foreigners to attack Plateau State.” Mr. Bayari, the group’s national secretary and a resident of Plateau State, challenged Mr. Jang to “make such security reports at his disposal available for perusal and scrutiny” by security agents and the public.
MACBAN asserted that the governor’s claims were “entirely false, mischievous [and] the figment of his wild imagination which is aimed at causing restiveness, fear among and intimidation of the peace-loving people of Plateau State.” The statement accused the governor of pursuing a “tribal agenda” by resorting “to false alarms, propaganda and bare-faced lies in order for him to cover his exposed agenda of ethnic cleansing of our people.”
The statement continued: “We want to categorically tell the people of Plateau State and all Nigerians that the Fulani have never and will never attack anybody and will only fight back in self-defense; even this shall be as a last resort as the Fulani believe in the rule of law and will continue to rely on the law to protect them.”
MACBAN stated that the decision by the Goodluck Jonathan administration to invite only the Berom, Fulani and Hausa to talks at Aso Rock demonstrated that the Federal Government had done its home work and knew “those who are fighting and killing themselves and the reasons.”
Mr. Bayari’s statement added: “The fact is that the Fulani of Plateau State, in particular, and Nigeria in general, have no problem with the people of Plateau State, to warrant any attack on the people. The people who have consistently attacked the Fulani of Plateau State and other Fulani on national cattle routes in Plateau State have been the Berom ethnic tribe of Governor Jang in Jos South, Riyom and Barkin Ladi LGs since 2001 to date. The Fulani in Plateau State have never attacked any other tribe in any aggression or reprisal except the Berom who have so far since 2001 killed over 700 Fulani in these Berom-dominated areas. The Fulani minority in these places have been fighting in self-defense against the Berom majority killer squads and militia which are allegedly being recruited and sponsored by the Plateau State Government.” The group described the governor’s recent allegation as “ridiculous, subversive and an unnecessary diversion of the attention of the Federal Government,” adding that it was an attempt to “pre-empt the efforts and plans of the Federal Government in its efforts to bring lasting peace to the state.” It further accused Mr. Jang of always raising false alarms “to agitate the peace-loving people of Plateau State by alleging that he has security reports of an impending ‘Jihadic’ attack on the people of Plateau State.”
MACBAN said the security agencies in the state were not aware of the alleged Fulani threats that the governor spoke about.