The apex body of the Irigwe nation (the Irigwe Development Association) has issued a press statement in response to the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) communique/press release of 17th October 2017, see the MACBAN press release at: http://viewpointnigeria.com/fulani-herdsmen-justify-attacks-allege-killing-6-kinsmen-rustling-cattle/.
In the press release today, the Irigwe Development Association, staunchly refuted claims by MACBAN, that 6 of their kinsmen were killed and that over 200 livestock were rustled in a village called “Kuri”.
The association countered that the entire claims are spurious and the figment of the imaginations of MACBAN – saying that the purported village of “Kuri” (as alleged by MACBAN) does not exist in Irigwe land. Indicating that the claims are entirely fabricated.
It also said that following MACBAN’s claim that it reported the matter to the police, it (the Irigwe association) contacted law enforcement agents to determine if a complaint was indeed lodged, but there was no evidence that such a complaint was lodged.
The press release, went further to debunk several other allegations, calling them spurious and without basis.
Full text of the press statement as signed by the PRO Ive Gulu is reprinted below.
The Chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) Plateau State Chapter addressed a press conference on the 17tt October, 2017. We have gone through the document released at this press conference and it was immediately apparent that the intention of the MACBAN in Plateau State is wanton, totally callous and a deliberately designed programme of lies, deceit and propaganda.
The utter viciousness and the shameless anatomy of the tuber of a smoke screen that MACBAN decided to offload on the people of Plateau state, Nigeria and the world is criminal and should be treated with a heavy hand.
Our statement herein shall speak briefly on the issues at hand and outline our observations and recommendations:
- The incident described in the MACBAN press release is a labour in the art of imagination, concocted from the minds of very criminally ingenious persons, with the sole intent of watering down the viciousness of the pogrom that the Irigwe people living in Miango and environs have been subjected to. It is a tuber of LIES that can neither be substantiated nor proven, because it never happened.
- In their haste to mislead and plant their seed of propaganda, the MACBAN availed themselves freely to creative license when they mentioned a “Kuri Village of Bassa Local Government Area” where the alleged killing of six of their members took place on the 15th of October, 2017. Allow us to refresh your memories. The 15th of October, 2017, (last Sunday), witnessed the vicious Attack upon Ta’agbe in Miango District which left scores of charred, mutilated and burned bodies; houses were razed to the ground by blood thirsty Fulani herdsmen and this wicked program continued the next day (16th October 2017) in Nkie-gbonwro where about thirty (women and children ) were also killed. And yes, for the records, there is no Village within the Irigwe territories of Kwall and Miango Districts called “Kuri”. It does not exist anywhere in Bassa LGA and we will not be surprised if that place does not exist at all.
- Of all the short comings that the Irigwe people in Miango may have, a cattle rustling is not one of them. Even when there were disagreements between our people and the cattle herdsmen after they drove their cattle into our farms to eat our crops, we always allowed them retrieve their cows. We have also seen the number of cows and sheep recklessly bandied about and we hope that if there was ever such a number of livestock existing and were rustled, that they should be looked for where they may be found. Miango land has never harbored such by criminal force, as it is not part of our social makeup.
- We are concerned by the boldness of the MACBAN when they attempted to put a seal of state on their falsehood by stating that they reported the case to the Nigerian Police Force and even attached pictures of the supposed victims. It did not come as a surprise when on the 18th of October, 2017, the Plateau State Command of the Nigerian Police Force, through its PPRO made it abundantly clear that there was never a time, on that date, that an incident of that nature was reported to it. The question is why will the MACBAN go to these lengths to concoct such a story and even make reference to the Police as being involved when this was clearly a lie? Was this to hood wink the general populace or to mislead the security apparatus in the state? Where did they get the pictures from? Was it from social media news posted by hard working journalists or did they procure the pictures while chronicling their own bloody activities? We need to know.
- It is very important to note that the press conference held by the MACBAN was an admission of guilt and a feeble attempt to justify the killing of innocent men, women and children.
We believe sincerely that the press release exposed the complicity of the MACBAN and their chairman in these events. In this view we wish to call on the security agencies to broaden their search lights beyond what they are currently plying and call for the immediate arrest of the Chairman MACBAN and his Executive Council for possible complicity in the attacks on Miango land and their attempt to compromise and water-down, what we believe is a tight, on-going investigation into the humanitarian madness that has greeted the Miango in recent times.
We wish to remind the security agencies that we had submitted the names of some of the Fulani herdsmen who were identified during some of the attacks. We wonder why these people have not been declared wanted by the Police, even at the time of our press release. Are they the proverbial “sacred cows”? do we give credence to the conspiracy theories that are rife in our polity today? With all these attacks not one killer herdsman has been arrested? This is unacceptable. The people are sad, angry and disillusioned and the Federal and State Government must rebuild the confidence it has lost including apprehending personnel that were complicit in these murders. Do not let this country down.
To the state Government we state clearly that the curfew imposed in Miango District is doing more harm than we believe was intended. It made the people easier target and has instilled a sense of un-ebbing fear in our people leading to mass exodus from the land. We ask that this measure be looked at critically with a view to reviewing the security tactics adopted to smoke out these evil marauders. We ask that the Plateau State Government directs the State Emergency Agency to swing into action and to help the villagers rebuild their lives and homes.
We thank the people of Plateau State, Nigeria and the world for standing by us through this pogrom and say you should not be tired, for this is the beginning of the end of the activities of these killers in Nigeria; our unity is going to show itself bigger than all the guns and connections that these evil men believe that they posses.
To all who have lost their families and properties we say be strong for peace will come, we must live through this darkness together. You are not alone in this!
P.R.O. IRIGWE DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION
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