The National President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Alhaji Abdullahi Bello Bodejo has pronounced a curse on those he said were linking Fulani with terrorism in the country, declaring that “God will punish them.”
In an interview with VINCENT KALU, the leader of the Fulani socio-cultural group, said there was nothing wrong with the Muslim- Muslim ticket, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sen. Bola Ahmed Tinubu adopted for the 2023 election.
Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore recently held a Policy Dialogue and Cultural Day Festival in Abuja on how to end herders- farmers clashes. Have there been positive results in this direction?
The problem is the people who are calling on Fulani and attributing everything negative to the race. After the conference, I tried to bring all Fulani youths together, I tried to bring them closer to security agencies to teach them patriotism and the need to be law-abiding and the need to respect authorities and leadership; that they should also know that they are important and people care for them. We also told them on the need to carry out their civic responsibilities, like obtaining their voter cards and be ready to vote during elections. Now, if you go to our headquarters, you can see they are being issued with voters cards. This is the first time this is happening.
Since, after the conference, we have not received any report of herdsmen fighting farmers. If you go to the South, if you see people who want to steal cows from the herders, it is different from clashes between herdsmen and farmers. Nothing concerns innocent farmers with banditry, Tramadol and use of other illicit drugs; it is the same thing with the Fulani who are inside bushes and forests. There is nothing that concerns them with banditry, drug abuse. But the problem is that some people are joining or linking the banditry happening to Fulani. If you people go to rustle Fulani cattle and it resulted in a fight, it is different from herders- farmers fight. Farmers and herders do have little misunderstanding and they easily settle it.
There is a lot of insecurity everywhere. Terrorists attacking Kuje Prison, 40 soldiers killed in Niger State, Brigade of Guards soldiers being killed. Some say the president hasn’t done much because the Fulani might be involved. What is your take on this?
God will punish those or anyone linking these atrocities to the Fulani. They are saying this because Buhari is a Fulani. What we forget is that these countries that have borders with Nigeria- Chad, Niger, Mali and Cameroun/Ambazonia have problems. Nigeria is like a mother to all of them and when these countries are having issues, part will spill over to Nigeria and we will not have peace. That is what we are witnessing.
So, anybody linking the Fulani to all these things happening is not only sick but will also be punished by God. Since the Abuja-Kaduna train started to operate, I don’t think any pure Fulani man has boarded it. If you carry a pure Fulani in a big car, he won’t feel comfortable, but if you carry him in a rickety truck, he would be very relaxed. It is a lie. Fulani are not the ones doing all these havocs.
Do you mean people from other countries are carrying out these attacks?
We have borders with those countries I have mentioned and they are sick. Look at Chad, how its president was killed, would that nation not be in crisis? Even in Cameroun, there is Ambazonia fighting to break away, and some challenges the others are facing. Many people who are not Fulani have learnt Fulani language and when they speak while recording crime scenes, people say Fulani are responsible for the crime. I can’t deny the fact that some people who are bent on tarnishing the image of the Fulani can go any length to achieve their purpose.
That is why we are trying to bring together Fulani youths to teach them the importance of peaceful coexistence, teach them how they can be going to school and at the same time doing their businesses. The Federal Government and state governments are supposed to do something about Fulani youths. During the last Sallah, I was not around, but almost 3,000 Fulani youths came to my house to greet me. I don’t think that 50 per cent of them have cows. So, I’m calling on the government and other agencies to try to help and keep these people busy and gainfully occupied.
A wanted notorious bandit was turbaned in Zamfara State and leader of the Fulani in that area, with some state functionaries in attendance. Yet he wasn’t apprehended…
We have the military, DSS, police etc. Maybe they have a way they operate which we may not know. If something is happening and the security agencies are not reacting, maybe, it is not a problem to them. You and I are not security agents, and so we may not know what they are planning; I don’t think the military, police would just fold their arms and would not take action if something that is untoward is happening. They may be planning something that we may not be aware
Political parties have chosen their candidates. How do you see the main contenders? Who would you and your people vote for?
Politics is going well in the country because many parties are now struggling to get the power. We are monitoring these candidates to see and study their programmes. We are also looking at their past when they held various positions. Some of them are not supposed to come and tell Nigerians to vote for them, but we are still watching and at our next meeting we’ll talk about what we are supposed to do.
You said some of them were not supposed to come out. Why did you say that? And who are these people?
Kwankwanso was a governor; Obi is a former governor, likewise Tinubu, while Atiku was a vice president. We saw how they led the people. If you have power today, anything are you doing, you should just remember that there is tomorrow. However, it is still early to decide, and I only cannot decide on whom to vote. Like I said earlier, we have to sit and review the antecedents of these candidates and what they are coming to offer.
Remember, our Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore is not a political association. I, the leader, am supposed to have my choice candidate; then my followers are supposed to have their individual preferences. But we have to put heads together to find among the candidates who can buy into the Fulani agenda, including grazing reserves. We cannot abandon such a candidate.
The Muslim-Muslim ticket adopted by the presidential candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is generating controversy. What is your view on this?
Nigerians shouldn’t make the Muslim-Muslim ticket a campaign issue. There is nothing wrong with it so long as both the candidate and his running mate are competent to do the job. Also, there is nothing wrong if it were a Christian -Christian ticket. We are not talking of Islam or Christianity; we are talking of how to fix Nigeria. Obasanjo, a Christian picked Atiku, a Muslim as his deputy; there was Muslim and Christian crisis then at Jos. It was during the time of Governor Dariye; Yar’Adua, a Muslim, chose a Christian as his deputy, there was still crisis; Jonathan had a Muslim deputy, there was crisis and Buhari has a Christian as his deputy there is still crisis. So, there have been crises even with the combination of the two faiths.
What should concern Nigerians are the minds of these people and not their religions. If your mind is not geared towards the good of the country, even though you are sleeping in the mosque, you are not going to be a good leader. The same thing applies to a Christian. If your mind is not to lift the country and the people, even though you live in the church, you will be a bad leader. I plead with our Christian brothers to join hands and let us rebuild this country. Let’s not allow the Muslim-Muslim ticket to divide us. We are one. Nobody will stop another from practising his religion. Tinubu chose Shettima because he considered him to be the best and would be loyal.
Terrorists have threatened to abduct President Buhari and Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna State. What do you say to this?
Anything like threats by the bandits should not be toyed with. The military should do all it could to deal with these bandits or terrorists and end their activities in this country. Buhari is the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and not the president of a market association, while El-Rufai is the governor of Kaduna State. A threat to the president is a threat to the entire country. The security agencies should go after these people and finish them. Bandits or terrorists can never defeat the Nigeria Army. The Federal Government should try as much as possible to see that the youths are gainfully occupied because if they are idle they would start thinking and planning evil.