By Ola Ajayi, Ibadan
SOME Fulani men under the aegis of Gan Allah Fulani Development Association have agreed to work with the Ooni of Ife, Oba Eniitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and security agencies to henceforth expose and flush out “criminal elements” among them.
The group who said they are descendants of Oduduwa noted that due to the criminal instincts of the bad eggs among them, people had stigmatized Fulani as violent and bad people.
This was disclosed yesterday by the National President of the association, Alhaji Sale Bayari when speaking with newsmen at the Correspondents’ Chapel secretariat, Mokola in Ibadan yesterday.
They clarified that there are 300 clans within Fulani and it would be unfair to judge all of them based on the activities of criminally-minded few.”.
Bayari said, “we support the position of the Ooni of Ife hundred per cent. We are ready to fish out the bad eggs and criminal elements amongst us. “
Giving details of a meeting they had with the ex-president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, he stated that they agreed that “we will not condone any criminal element. When we met with the Alaafin, he told us that 14 herdsmen were already in detention for various offenses. This has shown the commitment on both parties to bring a lasting solution to the issue of kidnapping, banditry and farmers/herders clash.”
He pleaded with the Oyo State House of Assembly members who are about proposing anti grazing laws to ensure Fulani men are represented so as to give them fair hearing.
“We plead with the Oyo State House of Assembly to ensure that as interested and affected citizens of the pending law, we deserve to be heard and listened to during the open hearing of the bill so that our views and opinions as Nigerians are heard and considered without bias”.
On the issue of the bororo Fulanis, “just like the Yoruba ethnic groups have different divisions, the Fulanis have different clans. There are over 300 fulani clans. We talk about the Fulanis in general because we don’t want to give special recognition to a clan be it positive or negative. We know the bororo clans and they know us also. We have various levels in which we address these issues and be rest assured that we will get to the root of these problems.”
Foreign Fulanis commit crimes
“In every country, you have foreigners. Cattle rearers are attracted to pasture and water. This natural characteristics makes them border blind. Cattle rearing has been in existence before the borders were artificially drawn by the colonial masters. There is the ECOWAS protocol for free movement treaty which Nigeria is part of. This existing law has its own problem. We know there are foreigners amongst us but when the law doesn’t allow you to chase them away what can you do. We are calling on our members not to spare anyone based on familiarity”.
AK 47 for self defence
“In banks, if there is N5m in their vault, there could be more than 25 policemen guarding it with AK 47 rifles. If you see a Fulani herder, he may have cattle worth N250m in the bush and with issue of cattle rustling, where does he run to if he is attacked. If the rustlers know that he is armed, they will not even try to attack him. We are not trying to defend them or encourage them to carry arms.”
“This trend just started recently. It is as a result of intra personal conflicts that brought about the issue of arms bearing. This is because people had to defend themselves against their aggressors. It is not only herders that bear firearms. Farmers also are already carrying arms.
When you don’t have a gun, you realize you can’t survive in this society. This country is lawless that is why you have to protect yourself. People have realized that if you don’t protect yourself, you will be run over.
If there is adequate security measures in place, people will not resort to defending themselves.
So, it can be handed to the security agents for 50,000 naira. A gun bought for N500, 000″, he said.