Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) on Monday exonerated its members from the unending conflict between farmers and herders that has claimed hundreds of lives and property worth billions of naira in parts of Nigeria.
The association said that its members do not work with guns and other lethal weapon other than sticks and cutlasses, insisting that any herdsman seen with a gun or other dangerous weapons is a foreigner and should be treated as a criminal.
Related: Tsav not our member, agent – MACBAN
MACBAN National Secretary Baba Othman Ngadzarna disclosed the information in Abuja when he led other officials of the Association on a congratulatory visit to the re-elected President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr Samson Ayokunle.
He told Ayokunle that all the criminals pretending to be herdsmen are not MACBAN members. He insisted that those bearing rifles and other dangerous weapons are cattle rustlers who are taking advantage of Nigeria’s porous borders.
Ngadzarna further disclosed the existence of another group of herdsmen that share the same nomenclature with MACBAN and that it is recognised and registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
Ngadzarna attributed the bloody feud between pastoralists and farmers to climate change, increase in population, illiteracy, cattle rustling and failure of government to address their needs.
“Until recently, government never deemed it fit to look into the root cause of the feud. Most of the negative stories making the rounds about MACBAN were fake news and should be disregarded,” he said.
Meanwhile, the CAN President, in his remarks, appealed to MACBAN to redeem its reputation and also protect the image of President Muhammadu Buhari by exposing the criminal herdsmen amongst fellow herders.
He said the reputation of Miyetti Allah has been damaged by the activities of criminal elements among the herdsmen and that it could only be remedied through identifying and kicking out criminal herdsmen.
“The criminal herdsmen among you are giving you and the President who is your brother a bad name, and the only way out is to expose them. President Buhari is Fulani like you people, and the best thing you can do for him is to expose those criminals. This will make Nigerians not to reject another Fulani man who may want to rule.
“CAN never attacked President Buhari on religious grounds. Rather, we asked for more responsiveness to the yearning of Nigerians not minding the faith, ethnic background and political leaning. Government should be able to provide basic amenities for the people and also provide security,” Ayokunle said.