Willy Eya, Chinelo Obogo, Sola Ojo, Kaduna, Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri, and Chuks Onuoha, Aba
The claim of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) that Nigeria belongs to Fulani and its threat to roll out 100,000 vigilantes across the country has drawn the ire of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and Aare Onakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Ganiyu Adams.
Alhaji Abdullahi Bodejo, national president of the group, had said the Fulani own Nigeria and will rule it forever.
He also said his organisation had concluded arrangements to flag off its own security outfit with about 5,000 to 100,000 vigilantes to be deployed across all the states of the country.
But in separate reactions, CAN, IPOB, MASSOB and others condemned the statement as one coming from those who did not want Nigerians to live in peace and unity.
CAN in the 19 northern states and FCT, in a statement by the vice chairman, Rev. John Joseph Hayab, maintained that Nigeria does not belong to any ethnic group, section or religion but to everyone.
“Making such false claims as that of Miyetti Allah’s president will only create tension and fuel crisis. CAN, therefore, calls on the Federal Government, through the DG SSS and IGP, to have a session with the ethnic superiority champion to school him on the diversity of Nigeria and the need for restraint from such reckless statements.
“All well-meaning members of the Miyetti Allah group need to urgently disassociate themselves from the provocative statement linked to the group as proof that the speaker is not playing a script.
“Without a doubt, there are members of Miyetti Allah who love this country genuinely, craving to see the country grow in peace and develop in every sphere (who) reckon that the statement credited to the group’s president is not a popular view, as such, needs to be publicly opposed.
“Nigeria’s problems are numerous; from insecurity to bad economy and now the COVID-19. CAN, therefore, does not want to add to the barrage of problems the country faces by letting unscrupulous people make grave and ungodly utterances that have dangerous security implications.
“Nigerians will wait and see what the Federal Government, through her security agencies, would do about this inflammatory statement, unless if we have separate laws for different groups of people in this country.”
Ohanaeze: It can’t happen
An apparently miffed Ohanaeze Ndigbo accused the group of plotting to dismember the country, saying the group’s utterances in the recent past were enough to trigger unintended chain reactions that could bring Nigeria to its knees.
In a statement by its deputy national publicity secretary, Chief Chuks Ibegbu, the apex-Igbo body noted that forests and bushes in Nigeria belonged to the people in the area and nobody had any right to settle there without informing the owners of the land.
Ibegbu, therefore, asked the Nigerian security agencies to flush out all illegal occupiers of forests and bushes in the country, while urging the owners to protect their land at all costs.
“Can an Ijaw or Yoruba man go to any bush in Katsina or Sokoto to occupy it and claim it as his own? It cannot happen. Let them come out and rent houses in the towns, as the world does not tolerate wandering by herders again. So, Bodejo should stop inflaming the already inflamed society with his queer theory.”
He insisted that it was such a mindset that has kept Nigeria stagnant over the years and Nigerians must oppose it.
Threatening Nigeria’s peace -Afenifere, MASSOB
Afenifere has said Miyetti Allah’s audacious pronouncement showed that it enjoyed some powerful sponsors.
Speaking through its spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, the pan-Yoruba organisation said: “I don’t know any group in Nigeria today that can be making the kind of statement they are making and won’t be arrested. What did the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) do when the Federal Government rolled out arms against them? IPOB didn’t threaten the peace of the country the way Miyetti Allah is doing, yet see what happened to them.
“It is now clear that these people are in the next level of their nefarious activities and they are seriously threatening the peace of Nigeria. We would not be addressing those thugs, we would be addressing their sponsors and collaborators to know that what they are playing at, they can only predict the beginning but they may not know the end and that is why they should be very careful. We are not expecting the Federal Government to say or take any action because in the past they have always made excuses for them,” Odumakin said.
Like Afenifere, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) said the cattle breeders may have secured strong backing from the Federal Government before making such a comment.
“For the Fulani to boldly issue this sacrilegious and abominable statement proves that the establishment of their security vigilantes is already in execution stage. They merely want to know the reactions of Igbo leaders, which will always be the temporal noisemaking.”
Madu said: “MASSOB wishes to reiterate our earlier resolution with other pro-Biafra coalition that Fulani security vigilance services will never be tolerated in Biafraland. They should establish their vigilante services in their Fulani villages in Arewaland not in Biafra.
“It is only the indigenous people of the tribes that make up Biafra with the spirit of heroism that will always withstand the Fulani herdsmen and militias. The people of Biafra are ever ready to defend and protect our land, lives and properties with every available means and method.”
Descent into chaos, anarchy -Gani Adams
In his reaction, Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Abiodun Adams, said the Miyetti Allah would soon wreak havoc on the country, if the authorities did not caution leaders of the group.
Noting that the country would descend into chaos and anarchy if such vigilantes were allowed in any southern state, Aare Adams urged the security operatives to urgently invite the leaders of Miyetti Allah for interrogation over their consistently provocative statements.
He said it was criminal for any group to invade parts of the country with arms-bearing young men purporting to be engaged in security services and charged governors of the states in the southern part of the country to be alert and nip such plans in the bud.
Aare Adams said it was evident that only the proper restructuring of the country could put a permanent end to the agitation by people from a section of the country to perpetuate themselves in power forever.
He recalled that the Nigerian state was designed to favour people from the North right from the start, noting that northerners were favoured by the colonial rulers in politics, military and other critical areas of national life. In his view, military and civilian political leaders have also followed the tradition.
“What gives them the confidence is that what has been happening from the past shows that the Fulani and Northerners indeed own Nigeria. That is what has been giving them the temerity to claim that they own Nigeria. When you look at the present security architecture, you will agree with them that they own Nigeria. When you see Northerners holding 90 per cent of the country’s architecture, you cannot deny their claims. How many Southerners have headed the Customs, Immigration? Look at the present composition, would you doubt that they own Nigeria?
“But the governors of the southern states must wake up and address this issue. They cannot because of trying to be politically correct keep quiet when they are supposed to talk,” he noted.
Joke taken too far -MBF
National president of the Middle-Belt Forum, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, said the statement o that Fulani owns Nigeria was a joke taken to far and cautioned that nobody could claim ownership of Nigeria.
“Let the Fulani tell us their domain. The Yoruba have their domain; the Igbo have their domain just like the Yoruba; even Chibok as small as they are have their domain and so others.
“If he thinks that the Fulani has the capacity to dominate other Nigerians, then he should know that they are asking for what is beyond them.”
Kanu mocks Igbo leaders
Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has mocked Igbo leaders for neglecting his earlier warning of purported plans of Fulani herdsmen to dominate the country.
Kanu, in a press statement by Emma Powerful, noted that the recent comment has justified his earlier claim that the Fulani-led Miyetti Allah had sinister motives to dominate the country.
“For years, IPOB warned, screamed and worked tirelessly hard to let the whole world understand what is happening and about to happen but I was ignored, insulted, spat at and ridiculed.
“This is what happens when cowards are in charge of your mainstream media and half-educated dimwitted buffoons see themselves as intellectuals. Shame on you.”
Ohaneze Ndigbo youths vow resistance
In a separate reaction, Ohaneze Ndigbo Youths said the claim of Miyetti Allah that it had rights to any part of the country is not only misleading but capable of leading to break down of law and order.
The youths, in a statement by Kingsley Dozie, national deputy president, warned that any attempt by any group of people from outside Igboland to assert themselves forcefully or illegally on Igbo would be met with resolute opposition.
“We are always ready to protect our territories from undue incursions in case they don’t know.”