Yesterday, the Fulani group known as Miyetti Allah through its spokesman Garus Gololo, threw its support behind the Governor of Benue Hyacinth Alia and asked President Bola Tinubu to prevail on the Secretary to Government of the Federation, SGF, Senator George Akume, to call his political loyalists to order over Benue State politics.
Addressing a press conference in Kaduna, Gololo who described Alia as “a good man and a friend”, called on “the SGF to allow the Governor to concentrate on delivering dividends of democracy to the people of the state.”
It was not the first time that the Fulani group had publicly expressed support for the Benue Governor. The first time Miyetti Allah took side with Alia was before the 2023 elections when they endorsed him as their choice for the governorship of the state.
Miyetti Allah and the other group called Fulani Nationality Movement, (FUNAM) had stated that Alia was the only one among those vying for the seat of governor in Benue who agreed to bring Fulani and their cattle back to Benue after they were forced to flee from the state following what they called anti-Fulani law enacted by the former governor Samuel Ortom.
It was even rumoured that Alia had a deal with Fulani elites including some northern governors who lavishly sponsored his campaign and he eventually won the election.
Though Alia was quick to deny any links with the Fulani groups at that time, the latest support shown him by the same groups is evident that he indeed has something in common with them.
What is not yet clear is the extent of the commitment that Alia has had with the pastoralists. It was speculated that before they sent him hundreds of millions for campaign, he promised to carve out large parcels of land in each of the 23 local government areas of Benue State and give to the Fulani pastoralists to occupy.
Recently when Alia initiated what he called “cluster settlements” to move the people to concentrated areas, he received heavy criticism for trying to create space to accommodate Fulanis in fulfillment of his agreement with them.
Soon after Alia became the governor in May this year, Fulani herdsmen began to move with cattle in droves back to Benue State from Nasarawa, Taraba and other neighboring states.
The sudden influx of the herders marked the resumption massive killings in many local communities of Benue State. Since June, no day passes without attacks and killings reported in parts of the state.
Despite all the attacks, Governor Alia has maintained shocking silence. It took him five months to appoint a security adviser, but even that was when the Benue State House of Assembly gave him an ultimatum to appoint an adviser on security.