The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association has called for the restructuring of the country and letting herdsmen go their way.
The National Secretary of the group, Saleh Alhassan said this in an interview with Punch published on Sunday.
Alhassan said it is to the advantage of the cattle rearers group if the country restructures as they are being marginalised by every other region of the country.
The herdsmen have been mired in controversy over allegations that they are responsible for the rising spate of kidnappings and killings in the South-West.
Last week, Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu issued a vacation order to unregistered herdsmen who graze their cows along the state’s forest reserves. The governor said he gave the directive owing to the rising spate of kidnappings and insurgency in the state.
Also, a youth leader in Oyo state, Sunday Adeyemo better known as Sunday Igboho issued a quit notice to herdsmen in the Igangan, Ibarapa north local government area of the state.
He had blamed herders and Fulanis, including Saliu Kadri, the Seriki Fulani, of being behind the rising insecurity in the area.
Reacting to the controversy, Alhassan admitted that there were some criminals who are Fulanis, but it is the same for other tribes; and it would be unfair to punish a tribe for the sins of a minority.
He also said President Muhammadu Buhari who is a Fulani has nothing tangible for the Fulani tribe and the Fulanis are even worse off under his leadership.
He said, “We don’t support crime. So, I’m not saying there are no Fulani that are criminals, there are, like other tribes, but don’t destroy their profession. It’s not good for the country. If everything busts, it’s to the advantage of the herders because we are not even enjoying the federation.
“We are even bidding for restructuring of the country; let every part go, so we can say this is where we are. As it is now, there is no form of marginalisation we are not seeing in this country. Everywhere we are being marginalised. You think we will accept Nigeria where we don’t have access to land to feed our animals and you think there will be peace?”
“Quite fundamentally. If we leave today now and if there is no oil revenue, won’t they pay attention to animal rearing? If we restructure the country and the South-West region says they won’t accept cattle unless they are brought to the market or supermarket, it’s okay by us.
“The mistake people make is that they think when they put pressure on herders they are getting at President (Muhammadu) Buhari. Buhari has no relationship with the herders. That is the truth. When people say he is our grandpatron, was Jonathan from the South-South not our grandpatron?
“If the President is a Fulani, it doesn’t in any way affect the life of a herder. In fact, they are worse off under Buhari. What are they benefitting? They don’t access any government facility or social amenity, yet they are responsible for the bulk of animal protein we produce in this country. I think it’s deliberate for people to think otherwise.
“Buhari has not done anything for us other than creating enemies for us. Herders are being chased around. Let us look at the larger picture and not allow enemies penetrate us. If Buhari loves the herders, he would have created the grazing reserves for them.”