The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has opined its reason for demanding the establishment of Fulani vigilante in Igbo communities.
The umbrella body of herdsmen across the country had requested a vigilante group made up of youths from Fulani extraction as one of its measures to curtial farmers and herders clash in the South-East region.
The demand which triggered reactions has been rejected by state governors from the geo-political zone. It also drew condemnation from socio-cultural groups and the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB).
Despite the rejection, the herdsmen are insisting their demand will foster peace in the area, saying the reason they made the request is to clear the name of the Fulani tribe from the bad impression it has made across the country.
Herdsmen are usually accused as arrowheads of criminal activities that has recently bedeviled the nation.
“If you read the newspapers you will see so much criticisms on the Fulani herdsmen, the Fulani in general or the northern extraction here in the South-East and so we have to do whatever is within our reach to redeem this name,” the chairman of MACBAN in the region, Giddado Sadiq, said in an interview published on Vanguard.
“There is no race that does not have criminals among them. It is not good to say that everybody from the race is a criminal. That is why we want to come out to work with the people that we know.
“The Fulani herdsmen here in the South-East or any other place are looking for greener pastures to raise their cattle. They are not here to bring about violence or to make troubles. So that is why we want to redeem the name and for people to see us as peace loving people,” Mr Sadiq added.
He explained that the vigilante group which will carry out their duty in conjunction with similar formulations of the host communities will assist in sending back violent herdsmen away from the region.
“This vigilante we are talking about, we did not say that they are going to work on their own but they will be under the supervision of their host or under the supervision of the Fulani.
“Most of the clashes we are having between farmers and herders are about the destruction of crops or killing of cattle. If we have a task force or vigilante from our own Fulani side, whenever a report is made to me as a leader, like in a recent report made to me at Uzo-Uwani, which I assigned four boys to go and assess that destruction, value the destruction and make sure that the owners of the cattle pay compensation to the farmer.
“This thing cannot be done with only Fulani, at least the host will be there, the governor’s aide will be there with the Fulani, they will go and assess, after assessing they will know the Fulani that is responsible for that destruction. This is how they can work. Whenever there is a report of anything, these people will go. If the person responsible is from our side, they will know,” the Miyetti Allah helmsman added.
Most of those who rejected the demand said there is something fishy about the demands. Some said the request is coming after recent developments suggest the Fulanisation agenda raised by former president Olusegun Obasanjo might be real.
Mr Obasanjo though did not mention names said last month that there are plans to Islamize and Fulanise the country.