ABUJA- Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar yesterday dissociated himself from alleged link with the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria.
In a statement issued by his media adviser, Paul Ibe, Atiku took a swipe at elder statesman, Paul Unongo who had earlier described the former Vice President as the financier of the group.
The statement read: “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 on the person of Atiku Abubakar whom he erroneously described as the chief financier of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria.
“Yes, Waziri Atiku Abubakar is a Fulani and proud to be one and has never hidden that fact. However, the Waziri is a thoroughly detribalized Nigerian that would never favour one ethnic group over another.
“Last year during the massive flood in Benue State which affected over 100,000 families, 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 fitting 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 made a financial donation, he also called on the federal government to do more to assist the flood ravaged communities.”
Though of Fulani origin, Atiku noted he was not a member of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria nor has he ever been a member.
While calling for a thorough investigations into the killings in Benue and other parts of the country, Atiku said Unongo’s resort to paint him black may not be unconnected with attempt to please the federal government for the appointment given him in 2017.
“It has not escaped our notice that Chief Paul Unongo is the Chairman, Governing Board of Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), 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,” the statement further noted.