The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association has asked Fulani herdsmen in the southern part of Nigeria to defend themselves against any ethnic attack against them.
The statement came apparently as a response to the ban on movement of herders with their cattle on foot in the South-East zone.
Naija Buzz News had reported how Governors in the South-East zone enacted a law banning herders from moving on foot through bushes in the south-east zone. The Igbo leaders noted that herders must move their cattle in trucks straight to the market where they intend to sell them.
We also reported how a northern group with the backing of the Northern Elders Forum (one of the apex group in the north) asked Fulani herders in different parts of the south to return home to the north because their safety could not be guaranteed anymore.
President Muhammadu Buhari in his response told the herders to ignore the call for their return, saying they could stay anywhere they wish because it is their right.
Naija Buzz News also reported how Afenifere and Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the apex Yoruba and Igbo groups, berated the Chairman of the Northern Elders Forum, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, for calling for Fulani herders return to the north, saying that his failure to speak about the atrocities being committed by the bad eggs among the Fulani herders shows that he was in support.
Speaking about the call for herdsmen return, the apex Fulani group noted that those calling for herdsmen return should know that if any herder is killed, the Miyetti Allah would first come for them before going after their enemies (apparently referring to the people in the south who have intentions of attacking them).
“Those so-called northern youths called coalition of northern groups should note that if because of their action any herder is killed, we will first look for them before we go after our enemies,” Alhassan said (as seen on Punch).
The group further told herders to exercise their rights to move freely as Nigerians and to defend themselves against any attack, saying that governors in the south would be held responsible should anything happen to any Fulani herder in the region.
The South-East leaders had warned that from July 20, 2019, herders must stop moving around the zone on foot with their cattle.
Saleh Alhassan, the National Secretary of the apex Fulani group, while speaking to Punch, noted that Fulani herders were free to move around the country and no one would prevent them from exercising their fundamental human rights.
He further asked the Fulani herders to defend themselves in a manner that nobody would try to attack them if any attack is brought against them.
The Miyetti Allah leader noted that herders were not responsible for the killings, saying that bandits are to be held.
The group says that the bush paths through which Fulani herders pass through were allocated to them by the colonial masters, therefore anybody who cultivates on the land meant for them should know that he do not have right of the land more than the herders.
Alhassan noted that those playing politics with the issue were being watched by Miyetti Allah critically.
He noted that Fulani herders reacts whenever they feel threatened, saying they have their own way of defending themselves, so let no one make a mistake.
Miyetti Allah noted that the grazing reserves allocated to the herders before the country’s independence must be developed to serve their purposes. According to the group, that is the only way to end the farmer – herdsmen clashes.
Ogbodo ThankGod is currently the Managing Director/CEO/Group Chief Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He was the Chief Editor at NaijaBuzz.News before his new top leadership role. Ogbodo has years of experience in the Nigeria Media Industry and has co-founded some media companies. He is the founder of Ogbodo Solution Nigeria and 1Push.Ng. He loves playing football and is a strong supporter of Lionel Messi who he describes as the greatest footballer of all time.