…as group backtracks
Igbo leadership through the instrumentality of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, as well as Yoruba and Middle Belt leaders, has berated the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) over claims that Nigeria belongs to Fulani.
Alhaji Abdullahi Bodejo, national president of the Fulani group had said, in an interview with a national daily, that the Fulani own Nigeria and will rule it forever.
Bodejo also said in the interview that the Miyetti Allah had concluded arrangements to flag off its own security outfit with about 5,000 to 100,000 vigilantes to be deployed across all the states of the country.
He has, however, backtracked on the claims.
Reacting to the claim, Ohanaeze in a statement by its deputy national publicity secretary, Mr. Chucks Ibegbu, warned that the Fulani group’s utterances in the recent past were enough to trigger unintended chain reactions that could bring Nigeria to its knees.
Ibegbu pointed out that forests and bushes in Nigeria belonged to the people in the area and nobody had any right to settle there without informing the owners of the land.
“Can an Ijaw or Yoruba man go to any bush in Katsina or Sokoto to occupy it and claim it as his own? It cannot happen. Let them come out and rent houses in the towns, as the world does not tolerate wandering by herders again. So, Bodejo should stop inflaming the already inflamed society with his queer theory,” the Ohanaeze spokesperson said.
He noted that it is such mindset as Bodejo’s that has kept Nigeria stagnant over the years and Nigerians must oppose it.
In its own reaction, apex Yoruba sociopolitical group, Afenifere said Miyetti Allah’s audacious pronouncement showed that it enjoyed some powerful sponsors.
“I don’t know any group in Nigeria today that can be making the kind of statement they are making and won’t be arrested. What did the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) do when the Federal Government rolled out arms against them? IPOB didn’t threaten the peace of the country the way Miyetti Allah is doing, yet see what happened to them,” Afenifere spokesperson, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said.
“It is now clear that these people are in the next level of their nefarious activities and they are seriously threatening the peace of Nigeria. We would not be addressing those thugs, we would be addressing their sponsors and collaborators to know that what they are playing at, they can only predict the beginning but they may not know the end and that is why they should be very careful. We are not expecting the Federal Government to say or take any action because in the past they have always made excuses for them.
Reacting in similar fashion, the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Abiodun Adams, said the Miyetti Allah would soon wreak havoc on the country, if the authorities did not caution leaders of the group.
The Yoruba leader wondered how Bodejo and his group managed to get the confidence to make such provocative statements, warning that the country would descend into chaos and anarchy if such vigilantes were allowed in any southern state.
He urged the security operatives to urgently invite the leaders of Miyetti Allah for interrogation over their consistently provocative statements, while recalling that the Nigerian state was designed to favour people from the North right from the start, noting that northerners were favoured by the colonial rulers in politics, military and other critical areas of national life. In his view, military and civilian political leaders have also followed the tradition.
“What gives them the confidence is that what has been happening from the past shows that the Fulani and Northerners indeed own Nigeria. That is what has been giving them the temerity to claim that they own Nigeria. When you look at the present security architecture, you will agree with them that they own Nigeria. When you see Northerners holding 90 per cent of the country’s architecture, you cannot deny their claims. How many Southerners have headed the Customs, Immigration? Look at the present composition, would you doubt that they own Nigeria?” he wondered.
“But the governors of the southern states must wake up and address this issue. They cannot because of trying to be politically correct keep quiet when they are supposed to talk”
Also reacting, the National president of the Middle-Belt Forum, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, said the claim that Fulani owns Nigeria was a joke taken to far and cautioned that nobody could claim ownership of Nigeria.
He asked that the Fulani tell Nigerians where their domain is in Nigeria, as other ethical groups have their domains.
“Let the Fulani tell us their domain. The Yoruba have their domain; the Igbo have their domain just like the Yoruba; even Chibok as small as they are have their domain and so others,” Pogu said.
“If he thinks that the Fulani has the capacity to dominate other Nigerians, then he should know that they are asking for what is beyond them.”
Likewise, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) said, in its own reaction through its spokesman, Uchenna Madu, that Miyetti Allah’s claim was abominable
“For the Fulani to boldly issue this sacrilegious and abominable statement proves that the establishment of their security vigilantes is already in execution stage. They merely want to know the reactions of Igbo leaders, which will always be the temporal noisemaking,” Madu said.
“MASSOB wishes to reiterate our earlier resolution with other pro-Biafra coalition that Fulani security vigilance services will never be tolerated in Biafraland. They should establish their vigilante services in their Fulani villages in Arewaland not in Biafra.
“It is only the indigenous people of the tribes that make up Biafra with the spirit of heroism that will always withstand the Fulani herdsmen and militias. The people of Biafra are ever ready to defend and protect our land, lives and properties with every available means and method.”
Also, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the 19 northern states and FCT, in a statement by the vice chairman, Rev. John Joseph Hayab, said Miyetti’s claim of Fulani ownership of the country is only aimed at creating crisis.
“Making such false claims as that of Miyetti Allah’s president will only create tension and fuel crisis. CAN, therefore, calls on the Federal Government, through the DG SSS and IGP, to have a session with the ethnic superiority champion to school him on the diversity of Nigeria and the need for restraint from such reckless statements,” he said.
“All well-meaning members of the Miyetti Allah group need to urgently disassociate themselves from the provocative statement linked to the group as proof that the speaker is not playing a script.
“Without a doubt, there are members of Miyetti Allah who love this country genuinely, craving to see the country grow in peace and develop in every sphere (who) reckon that the statement credited to the group’s president is not a popular view, as such, needs to be publicly opposed.
“Nigeria’s problems are numerous; from insecurity to bad economy and now the COVID-19. CAN, therefore, does not want to add to the barrage of problems the country faces by letting unscrupulous people make grave and ungodly utterances that have dangerous security implications.
“Nigerians will wait and see what the Federal Government, through her security agencies, would do about this inflammatory statement, unless if we have separate laws for different groups of people in this country.”
Meanwhile, refuting the claims, Bodejo in a statement titled ‘REFUTING NEWS REPORTS’, said his attention was drawn to a news report making the rounds in the Social Media to the effect that as National President of Miyetti Allah he made claims that “Nigeria is a Fulbe country and that the Fulbe can enter anywhere without permission.”
He said he was misquoted by the newspaper, even as he claimed the Fulani were being targeted in the country.
“And that the Fulbe are also raising 100,000 militiamen to enforce their will on every community in this country.”
“I want to state clearly and unequivocally that this news report is a blatant fabricated lie. It is actually the enemies of the Fulbe people that are at it again, as always, concocting such insidious and malicious falsehood against our people for their diabolical agenda against the Nigerian state. ”
“No doubt I was asked by the Sun Newspaper to react on the formation of Amotekun and my response was that every ethnic group has the inalienable right to defend itself against any aggression, including the Fulbe. That Fulbe will pursue their legitimate business anywhere in Nigeria as the country is as much their inheritance as it is of other groups.”
“I further said the Fulbe will also form their vigilante groups if necessary, to ward off any threat against our people and against the incessant cattle rustlings that our people have been suffering for decades without respite from government and other communities.”
“For example, more than 804 Fulbe were murdered in cold blood in June, 2017 and more than 10,000 of their cattle killed by Mambila militias in Taraba State, continuous killing of our people and stealing and rustling their cattle in Plateau, Southern Kaduna, Benue, Zamfara with no arrest against the perpetrators.”
“This is essentially what l said to the Sun Newspaper. But I am surprised that I did not see this report on the media I spoke to but it went distortedly viral on some other social media. Miyetti Allah refutes this news report and condemns the inherent mischief by the enemies of the Fulbe for this diabolical act. With or without Miyetti Allah, the Fulbe have the ability, capacity and right to defend themselves in Nigeria and indeed anywhere. Let those who wish this our great country ill to look for other means but leave the Fulbe alone. We have enough of our problems without adding salt to injury,” he said.