Reading through Vanguard News where the cattle rearers association, Miyetti Allah demanded an apology from Benue State government after the arrest of livestock guard for Benue killings by the police, it leaves a nauseous realisation that Nigeria has progressed to a place where police arrest of suspects is now seen as a verdict of guilt in the final analysis of judgment and conviction.
The Secretary-General, Miyetti Kautal Hore, Mr Saleh Alhassan, said the arrest of suspects made over the killings at a Benue Catholic Church has vindicated the association and its herdsmen.
He therefore demanded an apology from the Benue State Government for linking the association to the killings in the state.
Alhassan made the demand on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.
According to Alhassan, the recent arrest of the Commander of the Benue State Livestock Guards, Aliyu Teshaku, has vindicated the association.
“Today, they have arrested Aliyu Teshaku who is alleged to be the Head of the Livestock Guard in Benue who is behind those killings. He is arrested now,” he said.
“People that killed the two clergymen and 17 others in the church are being tried in Makurdi and they are all Tiv people. And they are all members of the livestock guard working for Governor Ortom.
“So we expect by now there should be an apology from the Benue State Government to our association because we have never promoted violence. We have always advocated for a peaceful resolution of the crisis.”
Apart from linking Tiv people to the attack on the Catholic church in Benue State that left two priests and 17 other worshippers dead, Alhassan accused the state government of propaganda against the association.
“I have always insisted that Governor Samuel Ortom is on a voyage of propaganda against our association,” he said.
“And today, if you look at the arrest made in Benue, with respect to the perpetrators of the conflict there, you look at their ethnicity and background and you look at who is employing them, we have been vindicated.”
Alhassan’s comments come in the wake of attacks that have gripped the north-central state in which many people have been killed and many others displaced.