Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has denied the allegation placed on him by the Chairman, Northern Elders Forum, Paul Unongo, of being the chief financier of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, saying that although he is a Fulani, he was not a member of the Miyetti Allah.
Atiku stated this in his reaction to the allegations levelled against him by Unongo.
Speaking through his media aide, Mr. Paul Ibe, in Abuja on Friday, the former Vice President also said it was wrong to describe him as the chief financier of the Miyetti Allah.
He said, “It is very disheartening that in this period of intense grief in Benue State, Chief Paul Unongo would choose to level these desperately sad and false allegations against Atiku Abubakar, whom he erroneously described as the chief financier of MACBAN.
“Yes, Waziri Atiku Abubakar is a Fulani and is proud to be one as he has never hidden that fact. However, the Waziri is a thoroughly detribalized Nigerian who would never favour one ethnic group over another.
“Last year, during the massive flood in Benue State, which affected over 100,000 families, Waziri Atiku Abubakar, who holds the Tiv traditional title of Zege Mule U Tiv, donated cash to the Benue State Government for the care of the victims.
“This is befitting for a man whose Tiv traditional title means ‘the biggest shade of the Tiv people’.
“It is strange that Chief Paul Unongo chose to neglect that act of love and care from the Waziri Adamawa to the people of Benue. Not only did the Zege Mule U Tiv make a financial donation, he also called on the Federal Government to do more to assist the flood-ravaged communities.
“Let it be known that though Waziri Adamawa is Fulani, he is not a member of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria nor has he ever been a member. He has also never discussed about that group with Chief Paul Unongo.
“Furthermore, His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, enjoins that a thorough investigation be made into the killings in Benue, and that anyone found culpable be made to bear the full weight of the law.
“Having said that, it has not escaped our notice that Chief Paul Unongo is the Chairman, Governing Board of Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council, a position he was appointed to in April of last year.
“Understandably, Chief Unongo would be very grateful to those who gave him such a position and may feel it is his duty to attack and sully those in their bad books.
“If that is the case, it would be a very sad day when a supposed elder chooses to make mileage of the sufferings of the people of Benue State, who have had to endure the impunity of these killings for far too long.
“Waziri Atiku Abubakar prays for the souls of the departed and as a traditional title holder of Tiv land, he assures the entire people of Benue (including the Idoma and Igede) that he would do everything in his power to bring justice, relief and compensation their way; so help him God.”
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Author: Eric Eric