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Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association has promised to avenge all deaths of herders and resist eviction in the south-west citing their ability to withstand any oppression.
The National Secretary of the association Mr Alhassan Saleh, stated these in an interview with Sunday PUNCH.
Increased kidnappings and insurgency in the south-west has been linked to the Fulani herdsmen occupying the region; thus fueling a crisis where Fulani residents in the regions have been profiled and given quit notice by some native South-westerners.
In January, 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.
To find a lasting solution, the Governors of Ondo, Ekiti, Osun, Oyo, Kebbi, and Jigawa States on Monday held a meeting with the national leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) at the International Culture and Events Centre in Akure.
The resolution of the meeting detailed that Night grazing and under-aged herding are banned and occupation of State Forest Reserves illegally is condemned.
Saleh who was speaking off the back of the crisis lamented that it was wrong to evict herders out of any part of the country and security forces should be made to identify and punish offenders.
He said, “Nobody has the right (to evict herdsmen). If you say you are going to evict us, we will resist eviction. We have been surviving in harsh environments; if we do not resist, we will be wiped out of the planet. If you kill a herder, don’t go and sleep, we will revisit you, and it’s not because we hate your tribe. People attack herders, and in one way or the other, herders have found a way to retaliate.”
Saleh also defended the right of foreign herders to enter the country saying that they once lived in Nigeria before relocating to other countries.
He said, “All those who travelled to the Benin Republic and others are coming back home. All those saying they will bar foreign herders from entering Nigeria are just playing to the gallery because if they are aware of the ECOWAS Protocols, they would know they cannot chase them away. That is why the position of the Bauchi State Governor [Bala Mohammed] is the true position. You have no right to evict anybody from any part of the country.
“Our number has increased recently because of the tension in Ghana and Benin republics. The ones in Benin Republic have integrated with the Yoruba in such a way that they speak the language. They were initially living in the South-West, and they are coming back,” he added.