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Alhaji Gidado Siddikki who is the Zonal Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, South-East Chapter, has come out to claim that its members are currently being detained without trial at different correctional centres in Anambra State.
Additionally, Siddikki said that some of its members had been imprisoned by the police for more than five years without being tried after being accused of being kidnappers and armed robbers.
During a press conference with media on Sunday which was monitored by The Eastern Updates, he made these remarks and urged the Anambra State government, through the Ministry of Justice and the state’s jail authority, to look into the situation in order to put an end to the current trend.
He said, ‘The leadership of MACBAN in the zone is currently sad about the way herdsmen are been dehumanised and labelled kidnappers and armed robbers in the region.
‘We are here for our business, of which we are all aware that it is the ranching of cows in the bushes and not for criminal activities.
‘So many of our people have been in the prison yards for more than five years without the state government looking into their case file or giving them a trial. All this hatred is caused by some disgruntled elements living with the Igbo who do not like Fulani in the religion.
‘Wherever they see a Fulani man, because of the hatred, they will report him to any nearest police station via a weighty allegation, whether he committed the offence or not, and the Police will arrest him, charge him to court, and afterwards, the herder will be dumped inside the prison yards and their file kept in court custody without trial.
‘That is why, on behalf of MACBAN South East, I am appealing to the Anambra State government, through the Ministry of Justice and the Prison Authority in the state, to look into the matter, so that our people that are in prison custody will either be freed or sentenced according to the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, after trial.
‘The association stands on its position that any Fulani herder who is caught in any criminal act in the course of discharging his legitimate business will be dealt with in accordance with the laws of the association.
‘MACBAN, under my watch in the South East, will continue to support the social-economic development of the region.’
Meanwhile, the state police spokesman, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, said, ‘It is not true. The police don’t have the capacity to detain someone for over five years without trial as alleged.’