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Garus Gololo, the Miyetti Allah chieftain who loves stoking controversy

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THE fire kindled by recent comments attributed to Garus Gololo, coordinator of the Benue State chapter of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), is still raging on the social and mainstream media; and this is not the first time.

Gololo, during an interview with The Punch, drifted from the activities of herdsmen in Nigeria and waded into partisan politics, warning the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to resign his leadership of the upper legislative chamber, or get ready to be “forced out”.

“We are saying that Saraki ought not to be in office again as Senate President, more so, Saraki has failed to coordinate and organise the National Assembly to offer quality legislation that Nigerians need,” Gololo was quoted as saying.

“Nigerians are in dire need of people that have the interest of the masses. Miyetti Allah is looking for a leader that would preside over the affairs of the Senate with ultimate respect for the executive and the judiciary, not someone like Senator Saraki that would always scheme to outdo the Presidency.

“We are now tired of Saraki’s style of leadership at the National Assembly. Therefore, we are now warning him to honourably resign his position as president of the Senate or we will force him out.”

By his use of the first person plural pronoun ‘we’, Gololo appeared to have spoken on behalf of MACBAN, but the national leadership of the association promptly issued a statement disowning Gololo, and saying he had no authorisation to speak on behalf of the association.

“Miyetti Allah is a non-partisan association and does not meddle in political affairs, therefore Nigerians should disregard Gololo’s statement as it does not represent the position of the association,” said MACBAN’s National Secretary, Baba Uthman Ngelzarma.

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Nigeria’s major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as well as some Civil Society Organisations, are already calling for the Gololo’s arrest, for suggesting that the head of an independent arm of government should be forcibly removed.

But this is not the first time Gololo will be making controversial and inciting statements, drawing criticisms and condemnation from many Nigerians.

Benue New Year Day massacre

On January 1, 2018, after herdsmen allegedly attacked a community in Benue State, killing several people, Gololo was the first to justify the killings, telling the BBC Pidgin service that the herdsmen were merely defending themselves from thieves who stole 1000 of their cows.

“As we were relocating to Taraba State through Nassarawa State, at the border town of Nengere, some hoodlums attacked us and stole 1000 cows from us, so we fought them back,” he said.

Over 50 persons were killed in the new year attack, some of them children, they were buried at a mass funeral on January 11.

Gololo’s recent comments and the subsequent reaction from MACBAN national leadership bring to mind a similar event in July this year, when Danladi Ciroma, a MACBAN chieftain in Plateau State was quoted as justifying an attack by herdsmen on a local community in the state, on the premise that the villagers had rustled over 300 cows.

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Ciroma, however, denied the claims, prompting the news houses that published the story to retract it and also apologise to him. But TheNation newspaper, whose reporter originally wrote the report, maintained that the story was true and that Ciroma said what he was quoted to have said.

The paper dared Ciroma to sue it for libel if he insists it reported him out of context. No such case has been filed so far.

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