By Ralph Madugu
The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) has condemned the planned formation of a vigilante force by the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore Fulani, a socio-cultural group.
Reacting to a news story where Saleh Hassan, the Secretary General of the Fulani socio-cultural group reportedly disclosed in an interview that the Fulani group, is forming its own vigilante group, SOKAPU said such moves should alarm all Nigerians who care about the existence of Nigeria as a corporate entity.
SOKAPU in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Luka Binniyat, said Hassan ought to have been called for questioning to find the real motive behind such an unwarranted plan and to ascertain how far his group has gone into the scheme.
The statement added that what a serious country would do, was to have banned the group.
Said SOKAPU, “The unwelcomed news that Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, a powerful socio-cultural Fulani group, is forming its own vigilante group, should alarm all Nigerians who care about the existence of Nigeria as a corporate entity.
“The Secretary General of the group, Saleh Hassan, made the grim disclosure Four days ago in an interview he granted the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).”
According to SOKAPU, Hassan made unsavory and disrespectful remarks on Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State and disparaged him for forming the Benue State Community Volunteer Guards.
It stated that Hassan vowed that his group was floating its own vigilante group to “protect” it’s members, boasting that they have the funds for such a curious project.
Describing the decision of the group as “absurd as it is preposterous” for the group to assume that they can stay on Benue lands and indeed in other states and form parallel security outfits with that of their host’s governments, SOKAPU posited that such “arrogance is rare to come by.”
“Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore is not a government and therefore cannot make laws that rivals that of a government that hosts its members.”
With over 200 Southern Kaduna communities sacked and displaced by armed herdsmen and allied criminals after hundreds were killed and more wounded, SOKAPU warned that the sight of an armed Fulani vigilante force on Southern Kaduna soil would be a very provocative act that will push other tribes to form same adding that the Fulani group apparently cares less of the sensitivity of other tribal groups.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Samuel Ortom is the elected Executive Governor of Benue State. By the constitution of Nigeria, he is the Chief Security Officer of Benue State. He is saddled with the most important reason why a government exists: Protection of lives and property of all residents.
“SOKAPU believes that all the laws enacted by Benue State House of Assembly and assented by the governor, protects all residents of Benue State, irrespective of tribe, religion or vocation. We also believe that Benue state laws do not discriminate tribes or religion. Only breakers of the law have reasons to fear.”
The group warned that any attempt, to allow the Fulani to form, arm, kit and operate an armed wing so brazenly, was synonymous to approving for other ethnic groups to do same.
“In other words, SOKAPU is saying that a civil war may spark off if Fulani and other ethnic groups obtain arms for the exclusive reason of protecting themselves as groups under various independent commands.
“President Muhammadu Buhari must not take this lightly, even though he is fond of glossing over serious matters of security concerns.
“In fact the Fulani have been accused of horrific crimes in many communities in Nigeria, given the truth that not all Fulani are outlaws.
“It is for the pervasive bloody crimes that criminal elements of Fulani have been accused of that spurred some state governments to create their own Vigilante outfits.
While cautioning against allowing any tribe to form its own Vigilante group, SOKAPU advised that no state government must allow any tribal group to form its own Vigilante group as doing such would be tantamount to “a direct line to insurgency and separatism.”
Commending Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State for forming a volunteer vigilante service which would be trained and armed under the supervision of the Nigeria Police, SOKAPU said it believed that all residents of Zamfara State, especially herders and farmers in rural communities, would soon enjoy robust security and pursue their livelihood without worry.
Describing the action of Zamfara State governor as expected of a responsive and responsible leader, SOKAPU said that, unfortunately, Governor Nasir el-Rufai has refused to do the needy like his counterparts rather he had continued to be only vocal against the armed herdsmen and bandits ravaging his state.