*PDP, APRJ, others demand arrest of group’s leaders
*Gololo’s views personal, unfortunate – MACBAN
By Myke Uzendu, Abuja
Prominent Nigerians, political parties and groups have expressed shock and condemnation over the threat by Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) to forcefully remove the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, from office if he fails to resign.
In separate reactions to the group’s threat, the aggrieved Nigerians said such threats poses great danger to the unity of the country and its democracy.
The critics of the MACBAN’s action took to both the social media and other channels of communication to express their dismay.
Among them were the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Advocates for People Right and Justice (APRJ), Voice from The East (VEAST), former Aviation Minister, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, and former presidential aide, Reno Omokri.
MACBAN had in Makurdi, the Benue State capital on Tuesday, said that it was “tired of Saraki’s style of leadership at the National Assembly”.
They said they were looking for a leader who would preside over the affairs of the Senate with ultimate respect for the Executive and the Judiciary,” and demanded that Saraki must resign or it would remove him from office.
According to one of its leaders, Garus Gololo, “We are warning him to honourably resign his position as president of the Senate or we will force him out”.
PDP said that Gololo’s interview has re-echoed threats by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to force Saraki out of office and called for the arrest of MACBAN leaders.
In a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said: “This 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 which have resulted into daily bloodlettings in various parts of the country.
“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.
“Before now, to majority of Nigerians, the Miyetti Allah has always represented the military wing of the APC and the Buhari Presidency.
“It is incontrovertible that they have now become the fourth arm of government that can determine when and how to forcefully remove the number three citizen, the Senate President.
“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 party insisted that Miyetti Allah does not represent the views and interests of the vast majority of cattle breeders or even any ethnic group in the country, calling on good spirited Nigerians to rise in condemnation of the actions and utterances of the misguided elements”.
In its comments, APRJ urged right thinking Nigerians to wake up to MACBAN’s call for the resignation of Saraki or he would be forced out of office.
The APRJ National Coordinator, Mr. Victor Giwa, said that “while it is not in our history to respond to narrow, unguarded and ludicrous statements, we are however constrained to respond to this statement credited to the association because of its past record of poking political tension in our national politics”.
Giwa recalled that the role of the Miyetti Allah to the crises between farmers and herdsmen which have marred the political fortune of the current administration and has inflicted pains on “national life”.
He said: “It must be stated that the office of the Senate President, is a constitutional office created by Section 50 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and not a political allocation or appendage of any political party.
“The occupier may be a member of a political party, but once he is elected to that office the umbilical cord of the party is severed and at such his decision and action is regulated by the constitution and the Senate Rules including other existing laws.
“Therefore any call by any person, organisation to forcefully remove the Senate President as the leader of the legislative arm of government is treason and tantamount to a coup plot and must be resisted”.
Similarly, VEAST, an Igbo group, condemned the call for the removal of Saraki by Miyetti Allah, wondering the connection between governance and cattle rearers.
Its Convener, Mr. Kindness Jonah, said that MACBAN action had brought to the fore the undeniable fact that whosoever is the life patron of Miyetti Allah is tolerating the “bloody activities of these hoodlums.”
He described it as a “convolution of democratic contours that could ruffle the feathers of peaceful coexistence in a hitherto fragile Nigeria”.
Jonah told journalists in Enugu that democratic actions of the present government have been down played by the same source calling for the impeachment of Saraki.
In his Twitter handle, Omokri said: “Miyetti Allah threatens to force @BukolaSaraki out of office if he doesn’t resign! Do we need further proof of a connection and coordination between killer herdsmen and the very top of the @MBuhari government? Why should Miyetti Allah hound Buhari’s political enemies? #RenosDarts
Also Fani-Kayode said: “Miyetti Allah says @bukolasaraki must step down or they will force him out. This is ominous and sinister. Miyetti Allah is a terrorist organisation which controls the Fulani herdsmen. They are the Hamas of Nigeria. Buhari is their leader and they are his foot soldiers…”
*Gololo’s views personal, unfortunate – MACBAN
And faced with the attacks from Nigerians, MACBAN has dissociated itself from threatening to remove Saraki.
MACBAN National Secretary, Baba Uthman Ngelzarma, said in a statement on Wednesday that the utterances of Gololo were “unfortunate and personal.”
His statement reads in part: “I will categorically state that Garos 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. We take exception to this statement and Garos Gololo is entirely on his own and will be sanctioned accordingly. We cannot afford to add to the many challenges we are confronted with”.