By David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has denied recent reports in which it said it would attack the five south eastern states of the country soon over what it called the stubbornness of their governors.
The Chairman of the group in the South-east, AIhaji Gidado Sidikki, who briefed journalists in Awka during a short prayer to mark the Eid el-Fitr celebration for Muslims in the city, said that the reports ascribed to him in which he was quoted to have said that states of the South-east zone would be attacked by herders were blatant falsehood.
He said: “A few days ago, we woke up to a malicious publication in a social media platform, purporting a phantom statement in Abuja entitled ‘South East will Boil any moment from now because of their Stubbornness’ ascribed to the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, erroneously assigned to me.
“My mission here is simply to expose the lie in the mischievous publication. First while it is my wish to inform the public that Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria did not make any statement to the effect of the content of the publication either in Abuja or anywhere for that matter, I humbly would wish to correctly place my designation as the Chairman of South-east Zone of the Association.”
Sidikki said the publication, which referred to him as ‘the leader of cattle breeders in Nigeria’, was another means of knowing that the interview was not from him.
He insisted that his group has always had a warm relationship with the five South-east governors, just as its host communities have also been in good terms with them, despite few squabbles that were immediately settled.
He said: “Again, I wish to put it on record that the South-east Zone of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) and her cattle herder members whom I serve as the Zonal Chairman enjoy warm relationship with the governors, governments and people of South-east Nigeria.
“I wish to state that this warmth has not been completely devoid of flashes of momentary conflicts at few locations. Such instances were however promptly addressed by the authorities and warm communality restored amongst the people.
“Given the increasing orientation and reorientation of our people and the locals who are our landlords here, and given the strong commitment of the state governors to peaceful relationship across board, one harbours no doubts that the relationship between our herders and their landlords can only be increasingly better as time progresses.
“It is therefore my intention, while dispelling the published rumour from the pit of malicious mischief, to share my upbeat spirit with all of us. It is my utmost belief that the sincere and committed understanding we all propagate today will yield us minimal rancour if not rancour-free society tomorrow.”