The National President of Miyetti Allah Kautel Hore, Alhaji Abdullahi Bodejo, has told people of the Southwest that they cannot stop the Fulani from moving about in the region. His reaction followed the launch of Operation Amotekun by the governors and leaders of Southwest last week.
What is the position of your association regarding the launch of Operation Amotekun by the Southwest governors?
We only believe in the police as constitution provides to safeguard lives and property in the country. The army, DSS, Civil Defence and other paramilitary organizations are also doing well. So, there is no need for any other organization to come in the guise of securing any land or state. As far as we are concerned, Nigeria is one.
According to the governors concerned, the outfit is set up to stem the trend of banditry and kidnapping and other criminal activities in the region, which the police have not been able to effectively deal with. Why then is your association jittery about it?
Anything that can stop the issues of kidnapping, banditry and other criminal activities we are in support of it. But already, the police and other security agencies are doing their best to tackle those challenges. So, I don’t see any need for other security outfits. Can they do more than what the police are doing? I know there is no other organization that can do more than what the police are doing. The police are doing enough to end the security challenges.
Are you saying all this for fear of the possible effect of it on your people?
We have nothing to fear because the people who engage in criminal activities are just using Miyetti Allah’s name to perpetrate their activities. One, the Fulani are not terrorists, Fulani are not bandits, we are a very peaceful people. I don’t see how someone who is moving around in search of grazing area for his cattle can abandon his work to cause problems here and there. You just have to move with your cow. I am not denying the fact that there may be problem with the farmers in the course of rearing cattle, but the real Fulani man cannot leave his cows to be eating peoples’ crop. You have to understand that it is not only Fulani that are rearing cow these days. Different people are today rearing cattle, and they dress like Fulani so that whatever problem they cause they can blame it on the Fulani. This is creating a lot of confusion.
Immediately after the launch of the security outfit, some members of your group came out to say that they would not let go any injustice done to your people. That sounds like a threat. Isn’t it?
I don’t see how justice can be done if the task of securing land is left in the hand of another orgnisation other than the police. Some states are doing anti-grazing law in order to ban Fulani in their land. This is not to say that we are encouraging our people to take law into their hands. There are channels through which we can seek redress for any injustice done to our people. Police and army are there to handle any problem. Fulani are well organized people; they are peace-loving people. They are always peaceful wherever they are in the country.
Then, what is the cause of sudden hostility between the Fulani and the host communities?
One, some of these ethnic suspicions are caused by politicians who want to win election at all costs. In the past, Fulani and host communities were always in peace with one another. Go to some communities, you will see Fulani speaking Yoruba, speaking Igbo, speaking different languages. But with the advent of politics, people are just causing problems here and there for their selfish end. Some of them are so desperate that they deliberately cause confusion to win peoples’ sympathy for votes. Two, Fulani have no access to the media to debunk some of the misinformation that is going on in the country about the activities of the Fulani. We don’t know about Internet, WhatsApp, Facebook and so on. And these are the means by which people spread fake news. Today, some people can fake an incident, take the picture and send it on Facebook and other social media, saying Fulani did this, Fulani did that. Through those means, they are poisoning people’s mind against Fulani. And because we don’t have access to the social media, we have been finding it very difficult to disabuse the minds of the people from this trend. That is why the hatred for the Fulani is very high. That is why there is lack of trust. It is only The Sun newspaper that always tries to balance its stories before publishing. And it is not every journalist that is doing that. That is why I always recommend The Sun.
Isn’t it part of your agenda, as it is being alleged, that you are working with some outsiders to achieve your desire to conquer some territories outside the Fulani enclave?
Fulani is Fulani anywhere in the whole wide world. But the truth is that we don’t claim land. The primary interest of the Fulani is to graze their cattle and move on. Wherever Fulani occupy in the course of their grazing activities, immediately there is development, they abandon the place and move on. You can’t stop Fulani from moving. But there is no plan to invade Fulani from the neighbouring countries to takeover any community. We are not attackers; we are not trouble-makers. The only thing is: don’t stop them from grazing area, don’t stop them from grazing their cow; allow them to graze their cow, allow them to do their business.