Ancestral lands across Nigeria are owned by the Fulani tribe, so says Bello Bodejo, the national president of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore.
Mr Bodejo, who stated this during an interview with Sun Newspapers also said the Fulani does not need the permission of anyone to invade which ever land they need.
He stated this while reacting to the directive from the governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, to herdsmen residing in Ondo forests reserves to either register with the state government or vacate the bushes.
The Miyetti Allah chief added that neither the governor or any other person has no power to evict herdsmen out of the forests reserves where they have spent centuries living in.
He said herders won’t leave forests to reside in residential areas due to the love they have for the animals who they want to be with all the time.
“Fulani have been in the forests he is talking about even before he was born; they have been there for over 250 years. No matter how dangerous a forest may be, Fulani would go and settle there,” Bodejo said.
“After staying there for a long time and their cow dung turns the place fertile, people would begin to come there to farm and to settle and from then, they begin to make claims that our cattle were destroying their farms,” he said adding that there are plans to seek redress in court.
When asked why herdsmen does not need permission before accessing forests, he said this is because they (Fulani) owns the forest.
“Which forest, who has the forest? Any person who thinks he owns any forest should be taken to psychiatric hospital. Nobody owns any forest; forests are for Nigerians. Fulani herdsmen have the right to move into any forest and settle there for their business.
“Why do farmers go and cultivate thousands of hectare of land and fence it, who gave them that land? Nobody is born with a land in this country; people were just moving from one place to another for settlement. Fulani are settling in every community, but we are not claiming land, we are only interested on how our cows will have food to eat.
“Fulani can’t value 100 people’s lives like he can value his one cow because since he was born, he doesn’t have any business except that cow. The cow is like his own brothers and sisters. If anything happens to his cow, do you think he can leave you? You have two or three storey buildings and you park your cars, do you fold your hands and watch somebody come to that house carry your cars, your clothes, your wife, destroy the buildings? You must fight. The Fulani man values his cow just as you value your brother and sister and you go all out to protect them.
“They love their cows beyond description, you can’t separate them from their cows to go and stay inside town or city. The cows have names.
“The way you give your children names when they were born is the same way they name their cows. Even a person who has one thousand cows, those cows have individual names and he knows them by name; the cows have fathers, grandfathers and grandchildren.
“What you have in human beings – the ways names are given to people, the same way Fulani give names to their cows. We are cow lovers , that is why sometimes if you kill their cows somewhere they go there to look for justice, because they see it like somebody has killed their brothers; they must go to see who did that and they won’t leave that person,” he added.