Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue, has wondered why the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) will take responsibility for killings in the state and members of the group have not been arrested.
On Tuesday, Buhari visited Benue to condole with the people after suspected herdsmen killed more than 70 people in January.
Speaking at the meeting with the president and other stakeholders, Ortom referred to a press conference granted by the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore in May where its leaders declared that “more blood will flow in Benue if the ranching law is not rescinded”.
The governor described the statement as “hate speech” and asked Buhari to order the arrest of the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore.
“Your Excellency, as a president that supports the rule of law, you will most certainly be offended by these hate speeches that may have crossed the red line,” he said.
“Your Excellency, how can a group claim responsibility for the killings that happened and are going about scot free?
“How can a group make public these inciting and criminal declarations in an organized society and are not arrested by the police? Your Excellency, kindly order the immediate arrest and prosecution of the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and Miyetti Cattle Breeders Association for carrying out their threats to attack Benue on account of the open grazing prohibition and ranches establishment law, 2017.”
Ortom said because of herdsmen attacks, Benue has lost about 47 percent of its internally generated revenue (IGR).
“We have lost an average of 47 percent of [the states] IGR due to attacks by armed herdsmen in the State. This underscores the problem between herdsmen and farmers,” he said.
“It was clear to us that increased population, shrinking arable land, global warming and desertification as well as the need to diversify the economy through farming, all make open grazing unattractive.”