National Alliance for Truth & Justice have asked the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to rise above ethnic Chauvinism adding that Governor Samuel Ortom Does Not Profile the Fulani tribe.
In a statement signed by the group President, National Alliance for Truth & Justice, Elder Peter Shande, in reaction to Atiku’s statement where he said he was angry with Ortom for profiling Fulanis, called on Atiku not to stir up callous emotions on crimes and unspeakable atrocities perpetrated by bandits and terrorists who have confessed being Fulani.
The statement reads: “Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was quoted yesterday as saying that he was angry with Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, accusing Ortom of “profiling Fulani as bandits and terrorists.” Atiku reportedly made the false accusation on Governor Ortom while fielding questions during a presidential interactive session organized by Arewa Joint Committee held at Arewa House in Kaduna.
“However, we as National Alliance for Truth and Justice, find such accusations from Atiku as highly insensitive and unfortunate particularly coming from someone like him who claims to be a unifier as in his quest to be the leader of this country with its multi-ethnic configuration. The remarks from Atiku are not only divisive and in bad taste about Ortom and Benue people but all Nigerians, especially those who are weighed down by traumatizing agonies meted out on them by bandits and terrorists who have never hidden their Fulani identity.
“If Atiku has forgotten, we must remind him that the Fulani socio-cultural organization, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and similar groups have on many occasions openly claimed responsibility for killings in Benue State adducing reasons in the national media. What is Atiku’s justification to talk about the Fulani being profiled, when the Fulani groups have continuously boasted about their heinous activities in Benue and elsewhere?
“Since Atiku feigns ignorance, we would like to draw his attention to the objective remarks of Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State when he appeared on Channels Television programme, on September 6, 2021. He said: “Majority of those involved in this banditry are Fulani, whether it is palatable or not, but that is the truth. I am not saying 100 percent of them are Fulani, but the majority of them are. These are people who live in the forests where their main occupation is rearing cattle.They are the same people like me, who speak the same language like me, who profess the same religious beliefs like me. So, what we have here on the ground with these bandits, they are not aliens; they are people who we know.”
“We urge Atiku to also prove himself above ethnic chauvinism by accepting this poignant reality in our security situation. As a leader, we expected him to have at least spoken out in condemnation of the bloodletting perpetrated by Fulani groups not just in Benue State but other parts of the country including his home state of Adamawa, and not to insensitively fan the embers of divisiveness, if truly he is the unifier he now claims to be in his quest to lead this country.
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“Granted that Atiku is of the Fulani ethnic group, we however call on him not stir up callous emotions on crimes and unspeakable atrocities perpetrated by bandits and terrorists who have confessed being Fulani. It is an open secret that some bandits, kidnappers and terrorists who are Fulani have been arrested and arraigned before law courts not only in Benue State but elsewhere in the country too.
“We are fully aware that Atiku holds one of the highest honorific chieftaincy titles of “Zege Mule u Tiv”- which translates as “The Great Shade of Tiv” bestowed on him by the Tiv nation of Benue State. By this honour alone, Atiku should rather be seen protecting the interest of Benue people as his friends not to assume the place of an ethnic champion seeking to sow seeds of discord between Fulani and the good people of Benue. There is no justification in claiming that Ortom is profiling Fulani people when he Atiku is also Fulani and has enjoyed goodwill from Benue people including the honour the highest chieftaincy title conferred on him.
“Governor Ortom does not profile Fulani people. He only speaks in condemnation of the heinous crimes Fulani bandits and terror groups commit against Nigerians. Ortom courageously speaks the minds of voiceless Nigerians who are either scared of being victimized or blackmailed. Atiku must therefore tender unreserved apologies to Governor Ortom for portraying him in a negative light. Ethnic chauvinism should not assume overriding prominence over issues of our national security for which Ortom has consistently championed for the benefit of all Nigerians.”