An elder statesman, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, has said Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria are suffering and he called on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the problems affecting them.
Abdullahi, who also advised the Federal Government to rehabilitate 600 abandoned grazing reserves in the North to address their sufferings, claimed Fulani were better off during the colonial era.
Ango, a former Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, stated this on Wednesday while speaking with newsmen in Bauchi.
He said the British created cattle routes, cattle markets and many other facilities because of the importance of the Fulani and their contributions to the Nigerian economy.
Abdullahi, however, noted that despite this, the Fulani ethnic group had not benefitted anything from the government.
“They have now become an object of politics, for every bad thing that happens in the country, now it is Fulani herdsmen. They have forgot that the Fulani herdsmen get nothing from the government.
“The Fulani herdsman was better off when the British were here. The British created track roads for Fulani herdsmen, created veterinary clinics for them, created cattle markets and so on for them having realised that they contributed significantly to Nigeria’s economy particularly in the agricultural sector and livestock production.
“Look at subsidies that are going to our farmers, you go and check if you will find out what subsidy goes to the herdsmen, nothing. You are having subsidy for electricity, you are having subsidy for water, you are having subsidy for roads, yet the Fulani herdsman has no subsidy whatsoever and he is the most hardworking Nigerian today but he is now being malign as the cause of insecurity.
“His animals had been stolen and sold in the city, so when you deprived him of his animals what do you want him to do? He will be hostile.
“We should revive all the abandoned cattle routes from Niger downwards. There are 600 neglected grazing reserves in northern Nigeria alone, what you need to do is to rehabilitate them, I think this is the little you can do for the herdsmen.”
Abdullahi, a former scribe of the Northern Elders Forum, urged the Federal Government to do everything to encourage the private sector to address the unemployment problem facing the country.
He said, “The matter here, which people have misunderstood, is relating to civil service as a source of employment. Civil service anywhere in the world doesn’t offer full employment for those who need it. The private sector does.
“But where is the private sector for employment in Nigeria? Kano in the last 10 years has lost about 15, 000 companies, for various reasons like lack of power, and policies that are hostile to private sector development.”
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