PAUL OMOKUVIE, Bauchi
The President of Fulani socio-cultural association, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Alhaji Bello Abdullahi Bodejo, has said that allegations of Fulani being behind some violent criminal activities in the country were not true.
Bodejo said, rather most crimes such as kidnapping, armed robbery and farmers-herders’ clashes among others were instigated by some politicians and enemies of Fulani to blackmail the ethnic group and to cause unnecessary confusion and disaffection.
He said this in Bauchi over the weekend while interacting with reporters, saying acts of kidnapping and armed robbery shown in videos via social media were all drama to portray Fulani in bad light.
He said: “You as journalists, have you ever investigated those they arraign in court after the drama; if any, did the court convict them? Did I challenge you the press to tell me any ethnic group that does not have people with questionable character? Were they not being arrested by security agencies, did you ever hear security agencies describing their ethnic group? Why are they doing this to Fulani? Even in the drama, do you see the picture of the actor asking them questions? It’s only blackmail.”
He said even the farmers and herders fracas had been politicised, recalling that the misunderstandings between the two groups was age-longed, and have traditional ways of resolving them.
Bodejo said: “But unlike before, when these feuds happened, they and were resolved immediately. But politicians now use them as ways of causing disaffection between Fulani and other tribes.”
He said as part of the blackmail, on many occasions, “you will see someone taking pictures from accident scenes and before you know, they post it on social media claiming Fulani herdsmen were responsible for the killings; it’s unfortunate.”
Bodejo said that his kinsmen herders do not bear arms of any form except the traditional sticks they are known for.
On the controversial plan by Federal government to establish ranches across the country known as RUGA, the Miyetti leader faulted northern governments at all levels for being insensitive to the plights of Fulani herdsmen in the country.
He said: “The Nigerian government has been insensitive to the plights of Fulani herdsmen across the country even when they are contributing immensely to the nation’s economy through their herd business.
“Let the Federal government bring back the grazing reserves across the country. We have national and international cattle routes across the country; they have been taken over by modern roads, These are the rights of Fulani as citizens. I agreed that cattle-rearing is a personal business, but governments must look for ways of easing business for these herders. If the government can disburse billions of Naira as loans to petty traders across the country which are personal business, then they (governments) should also look at what they can do to ease Fulani herders in their cattle-rearing business, it is a business that governments at all levels must support them to do at ease.”
Bodejo said Fulani are educated and are leaders in Nigeria, saying the majority of the northern governors, ministers and emirs are sons and daughters of Fulani and they need to protect the group and provide them with the essential social services in their settlements and that will help to ease their sufferings and make them live happily.
He commended the Jigawa State government for doing more to assist the Fulani and challenged all northern states governors to implement the grazing reserve policy in their states.