FULANI herdsmen body the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (Macban) has called on the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to help correct the notion that there is an Islamisation and Fulanisation agenda being planned by its members.
Over recent years, Macban’s members have been accused of being responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent Nigerians as heavily-armed Fulani herdsmen have ransacked villages in a violent orgy. President Buhari has come under fierce criticism for not clamping down on Macban amid claims that he is sympathetic to their cause being an ethnic Fulani himself who also owns cattle.
President Buhari’s plans to launch a cattle colony programme called Ruga, fuelled tension in the country, leading to claims that there was a grand plan to subjugate all other ethnic groups to the Fulani. Of late, criminals like kidnappers, armed robbers, rapists and bandits have capitalised on the violence, operating as herdsmen, dressing up as Fulanis to hide their true identities.
In his independence day address, Alhaji Gidado Siddiki, the Macban chairman said the fear of Fulani herdsmen and Islamic dominance were responsible for the challenges bedevilling Nigeria. He added that the unease has provoked rumours of Islamisation and Fulanisation agendas in Nigeria and called on the NOA to reduce suspicions by preaching love.
Alhaji Siddiki said: “My organisation, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, remains hopeful that as time progresses, more Nigerians will increasingly understand its role as a trade/cultural union whose primary responsibility is to protect the interests of Fulani herders across Nigeria, while ensuring that such interests do not undermine those of other people or economic units in any part of the country. Nigerians should open their hearts to be more tolerant and receptive of the activities of our herders and duly feed us back when conflict brews, so that better understanding and more enduring harmony will be sought.
“This way, in no distant time, the friction and the suspicion will die a natural death. At 59 years, Nigeria can be said to have come of age but 59 years might not have proved enough time to offer Nigerians the height of their expectations as people, however, the country has made progress even in her few stumbles in the course of growth.”
He further urged faith-based organisations, cultural and political groups to liaise freely with Macban on issues that arouse their suspicion and obtain clarification rather than rush to media houses, spreading confusion and unsubstantiated accusations. Alhaji Siddiki appreciated the hospitality people of the southeast have given to the group and called on persons of different ethnic affiliations to embrace dialogue and brotherhood.
“It is the ability of both the leadership and the citizens to resolve evolving differences and make progress that determines the legacies they leave for posterity. It is this ability that determines their place in history,” Alhaji Siddiki added.