- Describes MACABAN as military wing of APC
- Body dissociates self from threat to Saraki
- Benue berates herders
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has given President Muhammadu Buhari 24 hours to order the arrest and trial of the leaders of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACABAN) for threatening to forcefully remove Senate President Bukola Saraki from office.
The 24-hour ultimatum by the main opposition party is coming as the national body of MACABAN, which the PDP also described as the military wing of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has dissociated itself from the threat to Saraki, saying the official, who issued the threat, did not speak for the group.
Also, the Benue State Government has berated the association for threatening the Senate president, declaring that the group has assumed the leadership of the country.
The Coordinator of MACABAN in Benue State, Mr. Garus Gololo, had reportedly threatened Saraki to resign or be forced out of office.
“We are saying that Saraki ought not to be in office again as Senate President, more so, Saraki has failed to coordinate and organise the National Assembly to offer quality legislation that Nigerians need,” Gololo reportedly said, adding: “We are now tired of Saraki’s style of leadership at the National Assembly. Therefore, we are now warning him to honourably resign his position as president of the Senate or we will force him out.”
Reacting to the threat, PDP Wednesday described the outburst of MACABAN, which it said echoed the threats by the APC and agents of the Buhari presidency, to force out Saraki from office as ominous and revealing.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, the main opposition party said the unguarded statement by Miyetti Allah has exposed the synergy between the ruling party and some troublesome elements, who are being used to stoke division and create violent crisis that has resulted into daily bloodlettings in various parts of the country.
“However, in the light of these treasonable and inciting utterances by Miyetti Allah, we demand that President Muhammadu Buhari should within the next 24 hours order the arrest and commence immediate trial of the leadership of this group, otherwise Nigerians will henceforth hold him directly responsible for the utterances and actions of the Miyetti Allah,” the PDP said.
The party alleged that before now, majority of Nigerians had thought that the Miyetti Allah represented the military wing of the APC and the Buhari presidency.
“It is now abundantly clear to Nigerians that those fomenting crisis, including the bloody clashes in Benue, Taraba, Zamfara, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kaduna, Edo, Borno, Yobe, Enugu, Kogi, Adamawa and other states in our country, have political backers, who now want to channel them to achieve their unpatriotic quest to subvert our constitution and forcefully take over the National Assembly,” the statement added.
According to the main opposition party, it is incontrovertible that the group has now become the fourth arm of government that can determine when and how to forcefully remove the number three citizen.
“It is common knowledge that President Buhari has come under heavy public criticisms on how his body language has condoned the unguarded utterances and actions of these characters,” the party added.
MACABAN Dissociates Self from Threat to Saraki
However, the national body of MACABAN has dissociated itself from the threatening comments by its state coordinator for Benue State, saying he spoke for himself.
In a statement Wednesday by MACABAN’s Secretary, Mr. Othman Ngelzarma, the association said Gololo’s comments did not reflect the position of the association.
“I will categorically state that Garus Gololo spoke in his personal capacity and has no mandate to speak on behalf of the association. Miyetti Allah is a non-partisan association with no interest in the political terrain and we couldn’t meddle into the affairs of political actors thereby compounding our already obvious challenges. I therefore urge all and sundry to disregard this statement. This statement is not from MACBAN and should be disregarded in its entirety,” the group said.
It said it would sanction Gololo for threatening the Senate president.
“We take exception on this statement and Garus Gololo is entirely on his own and will be sanctioned accordingly. We cannot afford to add up to the many challenges we are confronted with. I’m therefore appealing to the general public to disregard this statement as it is coming from someone who doesn’t have the mandate of the association to speak on its behalf,” the group said.
Benue Government Berates MACABAN
Meanwhile, the Benue State Government has berated MACABAN for demanding Saraki’s resignation.
The spokesman of Benue State governor, Mr Terver Akase, said in a statement that the state government found it strange that many hours after such inciting comments, the man who spoke on behalf of the group has not been invited by security operatives for questioning.
Akase stated that MACABAN has assumed the leadership of the country and described the threat as “an insult to democracy”.
“It is becoming clear by the day that Miyetti Allah groups have not only assumed the position of the ruling party but are also influential to decisions of governance in this country,” the statement said.
He questioned the constitutional right the group had to spew invectives on the Senate president without being arrested.
“Are security agencies sending a signal to Nigerians that Miyetti Allah groups are above the law and therefore untouchable?” he asked.
According to him, Miyetti Allah and APC now sound like one association with similar objectives.
“Nigerians should compare the tone of APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, when he threatened that the party would force Senator Saraki out of office if he failed to resign and the latest threat by Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association to forcefully evict Senator Saraki from office. The words are similar, the motive the same and the agenda also one,” the statement added.
Arewa Youths Warns Miyetti Allah
The Arewa Youth for Peace and Security (AYPS) has cautioned MACABAN to stay clear of partisan politics and focus its attention on how to resolve issues with farmers.
The group said rather than threatening to remove Saraki from office, Miyetti leaders should be talking about how to help stop the killings in Benue State.
The National President for AYPS, Mr. Salisu Magaji, who expressed concern over the threat made by the association’s chairman, reminded the group that Saraki was elected by senators and only two-thirds of the entire lawmakers can remove him from office as stipulated by law.
Magaji further cautioned the cattle breeders to desist from heating up the polity, advising them to restrict themselves to the constitution of Miyetti Allah.