Tobi Aworinde, Abuja
The National Secretary, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Mr Saleh Alhassan, has said his group indeed demanded from the Federal Government the payment of N100bn to herders but for the construction of ranches and not for amnesty as reported on social media.
Alhassan made the clarification in an interview with The PUNCH on Thursday.
He claimed former President Goodluck Jonathan promised to give them the money and that was what informed their decision to support his re-election in 2015.
The Miyetti Allah chief, however, said that after Jonathan left, the initiative was suspended, hence the decision of the group to present the matter to the President Muhammadu Buhari government.
Asked why N100bn should be paid to violent herders to stop kidnappings, Alhassan said, “That is a mischievous statement. Do they pay money like that? Have they ever paid any money like that? That N100bn has been on the table for mini-ranches since 2014 when (former) President Goodluck Jonathan was trying to address the lingering crisis between farmers and herders.
“So, part of that money was, I think, used by state governors under the committee chaired by the then Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam. But I don’t think the bulk of the money has reached the pastoralists, the herders.
“As part of that policy, they (the Federal Government) are trying to see how they can now assist livestock producers to address farmers/herders conflicts via a policy.”
He added, “So, people now saying they have given Miyetti Allah N100bn to stop kidnappings are just being mischievous because from what we have observed, there are certain people that are twisting narratives.”
Alhassan lamented that some Nigerians didn’t want any kind of support to come from the government for livestock development.
“If we are going to have ranches, definitely, some support would come from government,” he said.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and some government officials had come under fire last week for allegedly promising to pay Miyetti Allah N100bn as amnesty to curb the rise in banditry, kidnapping and killings.
However, both the police and the Presidency denied ever discussing money with herdsmen.
Alhassan said there was nothing wrong if Buhari honoured a promise made by Jonathan to the farmers.
“If today, the Buhari government sees policy that was there since 2014 and wants to see how it can be implemented by supporting cattle breeders, not just Fulani but anybody that is breeding livestock, to access facility like the Anchor Borrowers you have with the Central Bank of Nigeria, I don’t think it’s something that calls for propaganda.” (Punch)
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