– Miyetti Allah has called on its members to defend themselves against ethnic militia attacks in the south region of the country
– The umbrella body for Fulani herdsmen, in a statement by its secretary Saleh Alhassan, also maintained herdsmen’s right to movement
– The group also warned politicians against politicising spate of killing across the country and issue involving Fulani herdsmen
Amid growing tension generated by the RUGA altercation between the northern societies and other ethnic groups in the country, Miyetti Allah has called on the Fulani herdsmen to defend themselves against attack by ethnic militia groups.
Miyetti Allah’s call came in barely 72 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari derided the comment by northern groups telling the cattle rearers to leave the south part of Nigeria in the wake of bitter dialogue raised by the suspended RUGA settlement.
Saleh Alhassan, Miyyeti Allah’s national secretary, made this call while similarly maintaining that herdsmen must enjoy the freedom of movement as entrenched by the Nigerian constitution, The Cable reports.
He said: “We are Nigerians and we have a history. Anybody that thinks he can wake up and take on the Fulani pastoralist is making a grievous mistake; we are well prepared to defend our fundamental human rights of movement in this country.
“They (herdsmen) are Nigerians, so they are entitled to stay where they are. They should remain where they are and defend themselves against ethnic militia and assert their citizenship in this country.
“The only thing we would say is that we will hold all the governors of those states responsible for their safety and security, but if any ethnic militia, by any name, attacks our members, they should defend themselves in a manner that nobody would try such again.
“We have been saying it that people behind insecurity are not herders; bandits are behind these killings, and if the government is saying foreigners have infiltrated the herders, have they been arrested and what is their nationality? Anybody that is trying to destabilise this country should be dealt with.”
Alhassan also berated the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) for calling on the herdsmen to vacate south region. According to him, Fulani herdsmen are Nigerians who will not leave any part of the country for whatsoever reason.
He added: “Those so-called northern youths called coalition of northern groups should note that if because of their action any herder is killed, we will first look for them before we go after our enemies.
“We are Nigerians and we are not going anywhere. Our attachment to the land is opportunistic; we don’t farm the land. So, if anybody is thinking that because he has cultivated the land in a particular place for long and he has rights there more than us, then we would ask where is the grazing area that the colonial masters created for us?”
Miyetti Allah also warned against politicising issues involving Fulani herdsmen, vowing that attempt to create confusion with its name by desperate politicians will be vehemently rejected.
‘‘Politicians can play their politics but they should leave our people out of it because it is the desperate politicians that are causing this confusion and they are looking for anything to hang on to, but we are watching them critically.
“If you threaten the herders, they react; they cannot be used for any political game because we have our way of defending ourselves. We hate injustice and we fight it. Anybody that thinks we can be squeezed is making a mistake, ” the group said.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Thursday, July 18 urged the leadership of the Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) to call their members who are violent to order.
CAN president, Dr Samson Ayokunle, who made the call at a news conference in Abuja, said until they were called to order, they cannot regain the trust and respect of Nigerians.
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