By Emmanuel Elebeke
The President of Oil and Solid Mineral Producing Area Landlords’ Association of Nigeria (OMPALAN), Bishop Udo Azogu has warned the purveyors of hate speech to stop insulting the Fulani ethnic nationality, warning of disastrous ripple effects this may have on the weak bond that holds the Country together.
Bishop Azogu said the Fulanis are an integral component part of Nigeria who has the right to live and do business in any part of the country without fear of molestation. He warned aggrieved and subversive elements in the Country with blood on their hands and hate on their faces to repent and make a volte-face because no sane citizen of Nigeria is interested in their drums of war.
In a statement made on Sunday, the primate of Our Sanctuary Gospel Church said Buhari is a product of the grace of God. Those stoking tensions across the country are fighting God, not Buhari because God put him in that office.
According to him, recoursing to blanket condemnation of a responsible and productive ethnic nationality for every crime that occurs in Nigeria is, to say the least very provocative, saying that those who are advising the Fulanis to leave the South and return to the north do not mean well for Nigeria and should be watched closely.
‘‘The Fulanis have every right under the law to live and do business in any part of Nigeria especially the South West, South-South and southeast regions. Cattle ranching popularly known as RUGA settlement was initially a PDP initiative under former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, who was the life Patron of the Fulani socio-cultural association, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore.
‘‘The National Economic Council under former President Jonathan approved the release of N100 billion in 2014 for States to build mini ranches nationwide in order to curb frequent herders/farmers clashes. This was sequel to an inter-ministerial committee set up by the Federal Government on Grazing Reserves headed by former Benue State Governor, Mr. Gabriel Suswan, whose State was the epicenter of the herders/farmers conflict, and comprising other State Governors and senior government officials.
‘‘The main duty of the committee was to identify issues causing frequent conflicts between herdsmen and farmers including struggle for land and water as well as uncontrolled influx of nomadic herdsmen. The Committee came out with the finding that grazing reserves and cattle routes already gazetted had been encroached upon and recommended that such routes be recovered and improved upon in view of prevailing realities.
‘‘The committee recommended the release of N100 billion through the Central Bank of Nigeria as seed funding to all the States for the construction of ranches. Jonathan released the N100 billion without parliamentary approval and the money disappeared overnight. Buhari was not in the saddle and the Fulanis did not force Jonathan to release the Fund. Today, the corrupt elite class has absolved Jonathan and turned the heat on Buhari and his ethnic nationality. This is very unfair. Nigerians should ask and know what happened to the N100 billion released by the Central bank to the states for the mini ranches,’’ he queried.