The Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) and Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State do not appear to be together on how to quickly resolve the seeming embarrassing security menace the killer Fulani herdsmen has thrown the Federal Government into.
Apparently worried by the broadening concerns on the security challenges in Nigeria worsened by the killing spree of the Fulani herdsmen, Governor Ganduje has been insisting that the best way to improve the quality of lives of the Fulani and address security problems in parts of the country was to ban their seasonal movement outside Northern Nigeria.
But a national official of MACBAN says the Ganduje medicine for the ailment is premature, since according to the MACBAN source, there is a national development plan on the matter being worked out by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, who is also their grand patron.
The governor who insisted that it was only by settling them in the North can their socio-economic wellbeing be enhanced and protected, added, ‘’there is no better way to improve their lives if you don’t prevent their migration from the North to the Central and Southern parts of Nigeria. Their movement should be banned, otherwise the Fulani will continue to suffer and the security problem in the country will continue.’’
Ganduje spoke as the Senior Pastor of the Latter Rain Assembly and televangelist, Tunde Bakare, in a recent interview with The Sun harped on the many troubles of the country, concluding that the cup of Nigeria is full, running over, and requires urgent rescue plan.
While bemoaning the insecurity situation in the country Bakare, who was the presidential running mate of President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2011 presidential elections said: ‘’The Bible in the book of Ezekiel talks about a land that is filled with the crime of blood. That is what I was referring to. There are consequences for bloodletting, the type that we are witnessing in Nigeria today; where the highways are unsafe. Apart from the potholes on the roads that are death traps to our citizens, the highways are not safe.
‘’Insecurity has seized Nigeria. It is something that is disturbing and which we have allowed to continue without any redress. It has reached unprecedented heights of a mountain and it is something that is not only embarrassing, but also overwhelming for the citizens and government. So, all we have to do now is like what is being proposed by government and by the leaders of our nation. We need to sit and find solutions to it because if you don’t take it, it will overtake you.’’
Governor Ganduje has however, explained that Ruga settlement programme for Fulani herdsmen was for individual states that can cater for the Fulani and where herding should be a socio-economic issue not a socio-cultural affair.
‘’We cannot ask a state to implement Ruga where the indigenes are not Fulani. It is for states that can cater to the Fulani and improve their herdsmanship’’, he said, claiming that there is no better way to resettle Fulani than through Ruga.
According to him, ‘’that is why we are developing grazing area or Ruga in Kano State so that the Fulani can be in one place, they can be educated and enjoy all the social services like other people of the state, including health, justice and security. So that the type of herdsmanship they are doing will be improved and they can produce more cows, more milk and prosper economically.’’
While noting with dismay the way the Fulani are being treated in the country, just as he expressed displeasure with some of them who have gone into banditry, Governor Ganduje assured the people of Kano that his administration will emphasize quality education as well as healthcare in the state.
This, he said, was because as the most populous state in the country, if care was not taken, the population would become a liability, adding, ‘’we will do all it takes to make sure that it is an asset through human development. That is why our emphasis will be on education and health.’’
The official, who reportedly pleaded for anonymity, told Daily Trust on Sunday that the association supports the modernisation of the cattle-rearing system, adding that migration should be allowed until the development plan was implemented.
While he claimed that most lands in the North and the central parts of Nigeria were being taken by Fadama farming methods and there were less grazing lands, he added, ‘’if migration is banned now, what does he (Ganduje) has to offer?’’
Meanwhile, in a seeming desperate bid to douse the Shi’ite tension from boiling over, the Buhari administration has said that the proscription of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) has nothing to do with banning the larger numbers of peaceful and law abiding Shi’ites in the country from practicing their religion.
President Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said in a statementin Abuja that the banning was to discourage wanton violence, murder and wilful destruction of public and private property.
He explained that contrary to the claim by IMN that it had been banned from practicing its religion, the Buhari administration had not banned Shiites from observing their five daily prayers and going to Mecca to perform the Holy pilgrimage.
According to him, their position is blatantly false and deceptive: ‘’The IMN is deliberately changing the narrative in order to gain sympathy and divert the attention of the world from its terrorist activities, including attacking soldiers, killing policemen and a youth corps member, destroying government ambulances and public property, consistently defying authority of the state.
‘’The Presidency notes that the banned organisation was taken over by extremists who didn’t believe in peaceful protests and instead employed violence and arson, driving fear and undermining the rights of others and constituted authority.
‘’The Presidency agrees that the constitution protects freedom of worship, but not to the detriment of the society, especially where such freedom harms others, and breaks law and order. The Presidency insists that such criminal behaviour and disregard for rights of others and human life will not be tolerated by any responsible government.’’
Continuing, he said everywhere in the world protesters operate within legal boundaries and conduct themselves peacefully without molesting others, or engaging in murder and killing of security personnel or destroying public and private property, adding that the Presidency regretted that despite all efforts by the government and other well-meaning Nigerians to make the IMN militants to see reason and abandon violence was all in vain.
While lamenting that such appeals fell on deaf ears as ‘’they killed, maimed and destroyed wilfully, constituting daily nuisance to workers, commuters and other innocent citizens’’, Shehu added, ‘’having defied appeals to operate peacefully, and given their seeming determination to destabilise the country, the government had to act before the situation goes out of control, after admonishing many times over that people should not use religion to perpetuate lawlessness.
‘’We are fighting lawlessness, criminality and not pursuing a policy of discrimination against any group. You cannot be in court while at the same time engaging in violent protests, molesting people and inflicting pains on others, which includes taking innocent lives.’’