Saleh Alhassan, the national secretary of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, says herders are being marginalised under President Muhammadu Buhari.
In an interview with PUNCH, Alhassan said contrary to public perception that herders are being protected by the presidency, they are worse off under Buhari.
He said Nigerians would be getting it wrong if they think putting pressure on herdsmen is a means of getting back at Buhari, who is .
“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 grand patron, was Jonathan from the South-South not our grand patron?” Alhassan said.
“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.”
Alhassan said Miyetti Allah is calling for restructuring because they do not have access to resources.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Alhassan said one of the ways through which there can be peace in the country is for Nigerians to accommodate herders.
“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,” he said.
“Government needs to be careful, and the real issue at stake is basically that of land resource management. These herders don’t have land and they do their business on land resource and we have a lot of land in this country. What we are saying is that the government should create an alternative for them.
“We must accommodate the herders in Nigeria, whichever arrangement, because that is the sustainable way to peace. Create a sustainable land use policy where you accommodate people that have a need for the land. Create grazing land for these people and create laws that would govern them. If we don’t solve this problem, we will be complicating it.”
Click to signup for FREE news updates, latest information and hottest gists everyday
Advertise on NigerianEye.com to reach thousands of our daily users