National President of Miyetti Allah Kautel Hore socio-cultural organisation, Abdullahi Bodejo, has said that the arrest of some Fulani leaders over the recent crisis in Plateau State where about 20 persons were killed, was discriminatory. Bodejo told VINCENT KALU, in an interview that if the Nigerian authorities don’t stop the operations of Amotekun and Shege ka fasa, his group would come up with its own security outfit to protect its members. “If we are pushed to set up our own security outfit, nobody can control it because nobody knows how many Fulani are in Nigeria; we are more than every tribe in this country, we are in every corner”, he warned.
The Plateau governor, Simon Lalong has called for the arrest of Fulani leaders in the state following the killing of more than 20 people in the state by herdsmen. How do you react to this?
The governors are the chief security officers of their respective states; any one that calls for the arrest of anybody may have a reason for that. I read in the newspapers that Governor Lalong has called for the arrest of Fulani community leaders in the state, and not Miyetti Allah leaders.
I call for the arrest of the troublemakers in the state. The arrest shouldn’t be one sided. It was not fair to have arrested only the Fulani leaders over the crisis; the other people were spared. I don’t think these people they arrested are killers, let the police do a proper investigation. See how the Fulani are being treated, you hear the Amotekun promoters calling for the arrest of Miyetti Allah leaders, the same rubbish Ortom was using during his electioneering campaigns.
We can defend the Fulani if you want to rubbish our ethnic group, which is why we are leading this Miyetti Allah socio cultural association, we won’t allow anybody to just damage Fulani name. If a Fulani man commits crime, we support he should be tried and if found guilty, he should be jailed, but not when you arrest innocent people and you try to give them a bad name, we will rise to their defence.
You can’t stop the police from arresting people, but these Fulani leaders they arrested were called for a meeting and you arrested them, but the other side was left out. The arrest was an injustice and discriminatory, and it is totally wrong. They came for a peace meeting because they believe in peace only for them to be arrested. It is totally wrong. The implication is that if there is a crisis in future and you call them for a meeting, they will not come.
The police have been managing the crises, but this time around, for them to call the leaders for a peace meeting and it turned out to be another thing; they will shun it next time, and when you ask them they will tell you that all the Fulani are in the forest. I plead with the governor to carry everybody along.
But people associate Fulani with Miyetti Allah…..
Miyetti Allah has its registered members. Our own Miyetti Allah is Miyetti Allah Fulani socio cultural association, it is only for Fulani people whatever activities you are engaged in, then you are a member.
The governor alleged the herdsmen were responsible for the killing…..
Benue State is number one in terms of Fulani- herders clashes, and it has spanned over 40 years, and recently Plateau State has joined. In Plateau, my blood brothers, some of them from Riyom, Makera, Batchit almost all of them were killed by some groups in the first crisis, leading to the scattering of Fulani in those areas. Some migrated to Bauchi, while some fled the country because they lost their relatives.
Their cows were stolen, and those there do not have any cow. Fulani have big problem, which is bringing them down, they don’t have media, no spokesman among them. Some so-called Fulani leaders go from government house to the other looking for what to eat; today they will say they are in this meeting at Jigawa, and tomorrow another meeting at Sokoto, Bauchi, Plateau, etc, they are just looking for what to eat. This current Plateau governor is a peaceful man and he is trying to make sure there is peace in the state, unlike the past one that was only interested in Berom people. In Plateau, the Berom and other groups are rearing cows; I grew up in the state and I reared cow there, and now you see Berom people rearing cows, who gave them the cows, which market did they buy the cows from? This is what the police is supposed to investigate.
What are your fears for Nigeria?
I’m so afraid the way some people are coming up with illegal security outfits. One group calls its own, Amotekun; another group calls its own Shege ka fasa. I don’t support any thing illegal; both of them are illegal, the security agencies should call the promoters to order.
We, Fulani won’t create any because doing so is another problem. If all the groups are allowed to form their own security, there will be problem for this country, but we won’t allow security power to be taken away from the agencies that are statutorily assigned for that.
Fulani are totally different from others and they are everywhere. Like Amotekun is only based in the Southwest, if the Fulani should set up its own, how many countries will that be; how many countries do they not have brothers- our brothers are in Cameroun, Niger, Chad, Mali etc. Some migrated to Ghana to rear their cows and other parts of the world.
However, we are waiting to see what the security agencies will do with all these people who are forming these illegal security outfits because if it comes to our side, I don’t think it is something that anybody can control.
If we are pushed to set up our own security outfit, nobody can control it because nobody knows how many Fulani in Nigeria; we are more than every tribe in this country, we are in every corner. We won’t say we are going to form our own but we are watching the security agencies how they handle the activities of these illegal ones – Amotekun and Shege ka fasa. No Fulani man can join Shege ka fasa. If anything happens to this country whether break up, nothing can affect the Fulani. I urge the youths irrespective of religion or ethnicity to change their mentality over the politics people are playing with security outfits, called Amotekun and Shege ka fasa.
I don’t support any of them; people who are using these outfits for politics should change their thinking. It is just about politics. Those who are in power promote Amotekun, while Shege ka fasa is for those who lost election.
Do you mean if the country breaks up, it can’t affect the Fulani?
Nothing can affect the Fulani.
Some communities have already denied them access to their land for grazing; people who have been denied grazing route and reserve. What remains? Fulani contributed 75 per cent of the present day development of Nigeria, but to allow them graze their cattle is very hard.
When they are being denied here and there, what is the difference? No matter how you hate the Fulani, they will see the forest to graze because you can never use umbrella to cover the forest, even if you put your land in plate and cover it, Fulani will see where they will graze their cattle.
Many youths especially in the North who have lost their cows, their relatives since the Plateau crises are stranded inside the bush and have nowhere to go and have no idea of what to do.
The cow is the Fulani estate, bank, industry etc, so if you have lost all your cattle as well as your relatives, what is left for you? It seems you are already dead. However, Fulani are blessed people, and they are managing themselves, but Nigerians that hate them don’t want to take their eyes off them.
Why do say Nigerians hate Fulani?
Some communities hate Fulani. You have money in your bank account, go and withdraw all of it and put in a transparent bag and be trekking from Lagos to Ibadan expressway, people can attack you to collect that money.
The same thing with any Fulani that is herding 100 cows, if people attack him, the cows can be eaten or sold. The cow is meat; the cow is money. The cow is everything they have. If they sell the cow, they don’t go to bank they will carry the money with them. That is why Fulani case is different from any other group in the country.