The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has condemned the silence of the Nigerian Government and the military authorities over the killing of pastoralists in Nasarawa State.
About 40 herders and butchers were killed by a military drone fire on January 25 in Rukubi village, Doma, Nasarawa state.
MACBAN described the silence as reprehensible and a lack of regard for the loss of lives of ordinary Nigerians. It said the deceased were “victims of high handedness of Benue State Government and the officers of the Makurdi-based Operation Whirl Stroke who deployed an aircraft/drone.”
The herders’ organisation demanded an explanation for what it described as “intentional killings” of the pastoralists and butchers.
Before their deaths, MACBAN said the pastoralists went to Makurdi earlier in the day to retrieve their 1250 livestock earlier impounded by the Benue State livestock guards after paying a fine of N29 million.
“If nothing, we expect the President to commiserate with families of the victims of this heinous crime, MACBAN’s spokesman Muhammad Nura Abdullah said in a statement.
“MACBAN recalls this is the third time in one year that the Air Force was involved in the bombing of pastoralists and livestock in Nasarawa, Benue and Taraba States.
“The recent killings constitute a war crime and a panel of inquiry must be constituted to find out on whose authority the drone/aircraft was used and punish the culprits.”
MACBAN claimed in the statement that “the trucks carrying the livestock were closely monitored until they reached the destination before the armed drone was unleashed on pastoralists.”
The group also criticised President Muhammadu Buhari for being nonchalant about the killings.
“We find it shameful that while people were being killed, the President was enjoying a state dinner in Katsina State,” Abdullahi said.
“We also call on the National Human Rights Commission to investigate this case and other cases involving shootings by the Air Force in Nasarawa.”