By Jonathan IPAA, Abuja
The leadership of the Fulani social cultural organization, Miyyetti Allah Hautal Kore in Nigeria has advanced reasons why it is against the proposed ranching in preference to grazing.
Miyyetti also explained why it supported former President Goodluck Jonathan against fellow kinsman, then Gen. Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 General elections.
Speaking weekend with NationalTrail at his Karshi office, the president of the group, Alhaji Bello Bodejo, said Jonathan was then a seating president whose policies needed the support of all.
He listed the policies to include the vote of N2bn naira for grazing of cattle across the country, the establishment of Almajiri schools in the north as well as to avert turning his security apparatus against fellow kinsmen.
Bodejo, said: “there was a secret threat to frame up fellow Fulanis and their herders in the planned war against Boko Haram. Again, Jonathan was a seating president and needed support so to safe guard the interest of our people, we gave him our support.”
However, he also informed that Dr. Jonathan’s failure in the 2015 contest against a northern candidate arose from northern elites who felt that the establishment of Almajiri schools would empower the children of the nobody against their kids thus mobilizing against the PDP presidency that fall to President Muhammadu Buhari of the newly formed All Progressives Congress, APC.
The President General of the Fulanis, who had endorsed the aspirations of Jonathan in 2015, insisted he has no regrets backing Dr. Jonathan as president.
Speaking on the perennial crisis involving (his men) herdsmen and peasant farmers across the country, Alhaji Bodejo blamed the crisis on the political class. He gave instances where politicians incited, fuelled the clash in order to reap from its outcome.
He informed that his association would support ranches only if they were properly established not the unrealistic arrangements put only on paper by successive regimes which according to him “are full of deceits.”
“We will support ranches but the policy must be designed to succeed. The hostility against the Fulanis is worst under Buhari because they believe hurting his kind men would provoke reactions but let tell you, no amount of blackmailed will jettison our resolved”, he declared.
Speaking further, Alhaji Bodejo who informed that his organization lost 411 men in the recent Southern Kaduna crisis, warned the APC state government of Benue against the implementation of the newly enacted Anti Grazing Law.
“Gov. Ortom is playing politics with grazing just the same way ex Gov. Jonah Jang of Plateau state and the (chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF), Alhaji Abdulazeez Yari of Zamfara state are doing. It’s not religion; the crisis is economic in nature largely over grazing land. Land is at the centre and the politicians are the key drivers of this crisis”, he added..
Asked who a true herder is compared to the definition offered by the Sultan of Sokoto, the Miyyetti Allah Hautal Kore, differs with the Sultan, saying, no reasonable herder will limit himself to mere stick in the face of killings, kidnappings and rustling of cows.
“These cows are our only livelihood. We are the crisis body of Nigeria, our cows are not for free, and they have a price. Our nomadic in nature, with no bank accounts and have limited access to education likes other groups. These cows are our only resort. Anyone who wants to take it away from us is playing with fire,” he warned.
“Like we did for Jonathan, we stand with President Muhammadu Buhari to make sure he is not blackmailed out of office” he pledged.
Though, Bodejo admitted that the Tivs of Benue are cousins to Fulanis, “Governor Ortom’s Anti Grazing Law won’t work, it’s an invitation to anarchy”, he warned.
He added that grazing was being taken over by elites, informing that the Fulanis are the minority economic group in Nigeria as they could not afford expensive ranches as envisaged by some communities especially, in the middle belt axis of the country.