For Nigeria to experience lasting peace, the country needs to be restructured, says Saleh Alhassan, national secretary of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore.
There have been calls for the restructuring of the nation. While socio-cultural groups in the southern part of the country are fully in support of this, most of their northern counterparts are in the opposition.
For Mr Alhassan who spoke to Punch Newspapers, there is urgent need to rationalize because according to him, herdsmen are the most marginalised despite one of their own being in power and appointing most of his kinsmen into political positions.
He said it will be to the advantage of herdsmen should the nation disintegrate as they are not gaining anything from the present administration which according to him detest herders by not enforcing the creation of the suspended Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) rejected by southern state governors.
“…If everything busts, it’s to the advantage of the herders because we are not even enjoying the federation,” Alhassan said.
“We are even bidding for restructuring of the country; let every part go, so we can say this is where we are. As it is now, there is no form of marginalisation we are not seeing in this country. Everywhere we are being marginalised. You think we will accept Nigeria where we don’t have access to land to feed our animals and you think there will be peace?
“Quite fundamentally. If we leave today now and if there is no oil revenue, won’t they pay attention to animal rearing? If we restructure the country and the South-West region says they won’t accept cattle unless they are brought to the market or supermarket, it’s okay by us.
“The mistake people make is that they think when they put pressure on herders they are getting at President (Muhammadu) Buhari. Buhari has no relationship with the herders. That is the truth. When people say he is our grandpatron, was Jonathan from the South-South not our grandpatron?
“If the President is a Fulani, it doesn’t in any way affect the life of a herder. In fact, they are worse off under Buhari. What are they benefitting? They don’t access any government facility or social amenity, yet they are responsible for the bulk of animal protein we produce in this country. I think it’s deliberate for people to think otherwise.
“Buhari has not done anything for us other than creating enemies for us. Herders are being chased around. Let us look at the larger picture and not allow enemies penetrate us. If Buhari loves the herders, he would have created the grazing reserves for them,” he added.