Fulani herdsmen's bodies divided over call for them to relocate their operations to Kano State

FULANI cattle herdsmen's bodies are divided over the recent call by the Kano State government urging them to move their operations to the state where they will be given enough land to graze their livestock free from farming communities.


Over recent years, heavily-armed Fulani herdsmen equipped with AK47 assault rifles have laid siege to farming communities across the Middle Belt, attacking villages that dare to oppose them grazing their livestock on their land. Despite the fact that hundreds have died in these clashes, the security forces have turned a blind eye to the menace, prompting criticism that the Nigerian Army is in collusion with the herdsmen.


In response to the crisis that is now engulfing the government, Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State said his government will set aside land for grazing and invited all herdsmen to bring their livestock to his state. Yesterday, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (Macban) welcomed the invitation but other herdsmen bodies have objected to it.


Macban spokesman Ngelzama Usman, described the gesture as a welcome development. However, it was opposed by the Gan-Allah Fulani Development Association, a vibrant Macban offshoot.


Gan-Allah Fulani Development Association secretary general Alhaji Saleh Bayari, said the offer is neither feasible nor acceptable because the Fulani, like other Nigerians, have a right to live and do business in any part of the country. He said restricting them to one corner of the country is an infringement on their rights.


Also, the Fulani in Enugu State are also not disposed to leaving for Kano or any other part of the country. Their spokesman, Alhaji Sanusi Sambo, said they are at home in Enugu because the people and government of Enugu State are very hospitable and have created a  conducive atmosphere  for them to operate their businesses.


Alhaji Usman said: “It is a welcome development because at a time when some people are chasing our members out of their states, some other governors are opening wide their hands and embracing our members. This is not coming from  Kano State alone as even the governor of Kogi State  has also opened  the door to our members.


"This goes to show that our members are not terrorists as our members are peace-loving people who are going round the country doing their legitimate business. They move with their cows which are their only source of livelihood together with their wives and children and you don’t  expect a pastoralist who moves about with his family and only source of livelihood to go about fomenting trouble."


Alhaji Bayari added that although they are quite appreciative of Governor Ganduje’s concerns if Nigeria operates along those lines, we will not have a country. He added that by following Governor Ganduje’s directive, we will end up polarising the country on the basis of sentiments rather than nationalistic feelings and callings.


“We will not have a country, or a nation because it simply means that tomorrow, when you harass some Yoruba  who have  been living in Jos for generations, or some Igbo  living in Kano or Sokoto, their state governors will just tell them to relocate. Then, at the end of the day, we would have as many countries as the number of tribes that we have in Nigeria and that would not augur well for us as a country," Alhaji Bayari said.


Alhaji Sambo, added: “As you can see many of us were born here and many are inheriting the cattle business from their fathers. We cannot just relocate to another place, even though in Kano we may be meeting our people, it will take us long to get used to them.”