– Paul Unongo, chairman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) says Atiku Abubakar disclosed his membership of the forum to him
– Paul berates President Buhari’s administration for treating the Fulani herdsmen crisis with unseriousness
– He notes that the president’s aides prevent him (Paul) from seeing the president in person
Paul Unongo, the chairman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) recently accused former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of being a major sponsor and most influential member of the Miyetti Allah cattle breeders association of Nigeria, which is known as the highest body of Fulani herdsmen in the country.
According to Punch’s reports, Paul called on Atiku Abubakar, a prince of the Tiv Court, to caution the herdsmen, who are responsible for the murder of countless number of people in the country.
Paul said: “I am aware that the most powerful person in Miyetti Allah is Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who wants to be the next president. If they are fighting for power and Atiku wants to create problems for Buhari, I don’t know. There are so many possibilities.
“The most powerful person who finances the Miyetti Allah is Abubakar Atiku and he is a prince of the Tiv Court. The Tiv gave him a traditional title, meaning ‘the biggest shade of the Tiv people’.
“This implies that the Tiv people should be able to run to Atiku who will protect them.This is the man who heads Miyetti Allah and is the greatest financier of this organisation. He has more cattle than anybody in Miyetti Allah.
“It is an establishment of the big people, a very rich group of Nigerians and they pack small boys to take their cattle all over the place and then buy all these arms to give herdsmen to go and kill people, and the government is doing nothing!”
Asked if he was certain about Atiku being the most influential member of the Miyetti Allah, Unongo firmly maintained that the former vice president disclosed his membership in the the association to him personally.
He noted: “I know, I got my facts partially from him regarding Miyetti Allah when I used to talk to him.”
However, Paul also admitted that seeing Atiku one-one has proven difficult in recent times. He remarked: “Have you tried to see a ‘big man’ before? I don’t like to wait at people’s doors. If you’re in government, yes, but when you’re not in government, it shouldn’t be so hard to see you.
Atiku is my younger brother and he should come to me.
“Anytime you go to his place, the people around him think you are there to collect money that they are sharing. So, I decided that I would not disgrace the NEF. I am not belittling him, but he is no longer in power and I deserve some respect.”
Unongo also criticises the President Muhammadu Buhari administration for treating the Fulani herdsmen controversy with levity.
He remarked that he had been cautioning the president for about three years concerning the crisis, but that the president’s “insensitive” advisers had been leading him into thinking the matter was not really serious.
Paul further noted that many of President Buhari’s aides have been preventing him (PaulUnongo) from seeing the president so as to relay to him the seriousness of the issue.
Garus Gololo, a leader of Miyetti Allah cattle breeders in Benue state said the attack on some communities in the state, which led to the killings of innocent Nigerians, was in retaliation for alleged stealing of their cows.
Gololo told newsmen that trouble started when some people attacked Fulani herdsmen who were relocating with their cows from Benue state.