The Chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria in Ogun State, Alhaji Abdulmumini Ibraheem, yesterday expressed concern that the Fulani herdsmen issue has been politicised.
Ibraheem also dissociated the association from the recent kidnapping incidents in the state, insisting that members of the association were peace- loving people.
Speaking with newsmen in Abeokuta on Monday, Ibraheem said that everyone should be involved in the fight against armed robbery, kidnapping and other criminal activities instead of labelling a particular tribe as criminals.
The Miyetti Allah leader, who spoke in fluent Yoruba language, maintained that labelling the Fulani tribe armed robbers and kidnappers “is a deliberate ploy by some people to destabilise the country.”
He said, “The issue of Fulani herdsmen has been politicised. You will notice that the trouble started in the past four years when President Mohammadu Buhari became President of the country. People everywhere started attributing all manners of criminal activities to Fulani tribe. I don’t know what the people behind this are trying to achieve.
“Some people behind this started spreading on the internet pictures of some Fulani herdsmen carrying AK-47 rifles. These are not pictures of Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria but the ones from the Chad Republic.
“I’m not saying there are no kidnappers among the Fulanis. But if the government and people think that it is only the Fulani people that are kidnapping, we won’t find a lasting solution to kidnapping.
“All of us should fight against kidnapping as a crime and stop tagging a particular tribe as kidnappers. There is no tribe that is not involved in kidnapping.
“Not all Fulanis are criminals as many people often accuse us. Other tribes are also involved in one form of criminal activity or the other. Why then are they labelling Fulanis as criminals?”
The Miyetti Allah Chairman reiterated his support for the establishment of rural grazing areas (RUGA) in states to curb farmers-herdsmen clash.
“RUGA is not a bad idea. If it had been established a long time ago, we would not have found ourselves in this current situation of insecurity,” Ibraheem said.