The Association of Fulani Chiefs and the Chariman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Ondo State chapter, Bello Garba, said during a press conference in Lagos that Chief Olu Falae, was not kidnapped by members of Fulani herdsmen.
MACBAN, says the call by the Afenifere, to expel Fulani herdsmen from the South-West was unnecessary.Garba said that even though Fulani herdsmen are known for encroaching on people's farms, no Fulani herdsman would abandon his cattle and go about abducting anybody.
“We’ve been relating with security agencies and we have never had any issue with residents before. The disagreement with farmers has been ongoing for sometime but we have mediated and settled it on several occasions.
“Most of the Fulani people that came into Ondo came in as cattle breeders and you don’t expect them to just leave their animals and be kidnapping. We have been residing in Ondo State for more than 100 years and no one has ever accused us of any heinous crime in Ondo State or caught us with weapons.
“As an Ondo resident, I condemn this act. Clearly, this is impersonation. We live with our families in Ondo. How can we engage in such an act? We are pleading with law enforcement agents to do more investigation and expose the real perpetrators.”
The Sarkin Fulani of Lagos, Alhaji Mohammed Bambado, said it will not be in the interest of the Yoruba or Nigerians to denigrate cattle breeders at a time Nigeria was trying to diversify its economy and make agriculture more attractive.
He said:“Need we remind our brothers (Afenifere) of the African Union and ECOWAS charters that give people and animals, particularly, livestock free movement within and across international borders of West African states. Such calls and actions are in direct breach of a number of international treaties and obligations regarding the free movement of persons and animals.
“Banning the movement of cattle from one part of Nigeria to another also violates the constitution of Nigeria on the freedom of movement of people and livestock. It also amounts to ethnic profiling of the nomadic Fulani.”
He, however, called on the Afenifere that rather than call on the expulsion of Fulani hersdmen from the south-west, they should all join hands with them to find a lasting solution to the encroachment problem.
The Sarkin Fulani, Abeokuta, Alhaji Mohammed Kabir, who is also the Secretary, Association of Fulani Chiefs in the South-West, said said the government needs to create grazing reserves for herdsmen so that they would stop encroaching on farmlands.
“We have appealed to the Federal Government and state governments in the South-West to help create grazing reserves.
“It is done in many advanced countries. When these things don’t exist, the herdsmen have to encroach for survival. Even before oil, we were doing this.
“God forbids that we will be importing all our cattle from overseas like our cars. This cattle rearing creates jobs for thousands if not millions of people. There is ranching in advanced countries but we can’t be ranchers because we can’t afford it.”