The Arewa Christians and Indigenous Pastors Association (ACIPA), have demanded the investigation of alleged ransom payment to Fulani herdsmen in Plateau State by Gov. Simon Lalong.
In a press statement on Saturday, the group said Gov. Lalong who it said in a recent interview on Channels TV claimed knowing the herdsmen carrying out deadly attacks in local Plateau communities should be “compelled to produce them”.
Gov. Lalong was recently rumoured to have paid several millions of naira to Fulani herdsmen as ransom for their “rustled” cattle.
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN), has blamed several attacks by its members on alleged cattle rustling.
Despite the ransom payment, the allocation of land for ranching, the series of consultative meetings Lalong has admitted to holding and the appointment of “Hausa/Fulani” in government as earlier demanded by Fulani leaders as solution to attacks, the killings have persisted, the group said.
“The Arewa Christian group therefore believes the Governor is under blackmail by the herdsmen,” said the statement.
The statement signed by the group’s President, Rev’d Luke Shehu and made available to our correspondent, said, “He should also be investigated for a possible ransom payment to herdsmen which may be done as blackmail by Fulani militia to rip off government resources for further militia activities.”
The statement therefore demanded the “immediate” arrest of leaders of the Fulani umbrella body, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN).
More than 200 people have died in series of attacks in parts of Plateau State between June 23 and June 24, 2018, our correspondent reports.
Survivors say the attacks were carried out by Fulani herdsmen.
While the Fulani leaders in Nigeria have linked the attacks to alleged rustling and prior provocation by the locals, the state and federal authorities have accused former government officials of funding the attacks to discredit the present government, Daily Times reports.
“He should also be investigated for a possible ransom payment to herdsmen which may be done as blackmail by Fulani militia to rip off government resources for further militia activities.” – Arewa Christians and Indigenous Pastors Association (ACIPA)