A Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), has berated the Secretary General of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Usman Baba-Ngelzerma over his suggestion that there are indigenous Fulani people in Yorubaland.
ARG in a statement on Sunday by its Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kunle Famoriyo, said there was no Fulani settlement in any part of the South-West that fits the dictionary definition of indigenous as Baba-Ngelzerma tried to portray.
Baba-Ngelzerma had during a live TV interview, during which he opposed the open grazing ban by Southern governors, claimed that Fulani people who have lived in different parts of the South, including Southeast and Southwest for many years, are indigenous to the areas and don’t have any other place to call home.
He had noted, for example, that “In Ondo and most of the southern states, we have indigenous pastoralists whose fathers were brought up in those states and those who are there today were also brought up there. So, if you ask them to go, they won’t know where to go because they know these states as their own.
“There is no Fulani man or woman living in any part of South-West that can claim the ancestral history of the community as his or her family’s history. Conversely, there is none among the Fulani families that first settled in Yorubaland whose history of migration cannot be told by the indigenous Yoruba people.”
However, rejecting Baba-Ngelzerma’s claims, ARG noted that the deliberate use of words that confer on the Fulani people a status that is not theirs constitutes a security threat and does not portray MACBAN and its members as peace-loving people.
“The subtlety in Baba-Ngelzerma’s choice of words is another confirmation of MACBAN’s surreptitious plan to grab and claim ancestral land for its members through inappropriate means,” the group said.
“Baba-Ngelzerma’s claim that there are Fulani people who do not know any other place as their ancestry other than their place of birth owes its plot to mischief, deliberate distortion of facts and a devilish plan to redraw the demography of indigenes of South-West.
“Migration is a global phenomenon and anyone should be able to live in any part of the world that suits his or her ambition. The ease of integration of a settler into a society is never determined by the settler’s terms, but by his or her readiness to abide by the laws and norms of that society.”
“As the saying goes, when in Rome, do as Romans do. MACBAN members and other Fulani herdsmen want to settle here on their own terms and by employing the most repugnant and vicious strategy, which the Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has stood firmly against.”