A group of Fulani cattle herders, the Coalition of Pastoralists Associations of Nigeria (CPAN), has accused the Nigerian government and other ethnic groups in the country of destroying the business of cattle rearing.
The group also claimed that the hostility shown to Fulani people, who are primarily cattle rearers, has forced many to leave the country.
The group made the claims during a press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday.
It subsequently called on the government and the international community to save the average cattle herder, whose business it said “is going down and who can lose his life anytime without consequences.”
The National President of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Baba – Othman Ngelzarma, who spoke on behalf of CPAN, said the briefing was done to draw the attention of the government to the dangers being faced by the Fulanis across the country.
Mr Ngelzarma said while Lake Chad has been negatively affected by global warming forcing herders to look elsewhere for water and food for their livestock, the Nigerian government watches helplessly while Fulanis are being treated as second class citizens.
“To start with, we all know that global warming is a reality, and it has affected the Lake Chad massively, forcing our people to move down south in search of water and food for our livestock. While the Nigerian government has not lifted any finger to recharge the Lake Chad and make it habitable for our people, it has watched on helplessly as different communities and state governments across the North Central and Southern parts of the country treat the Fulani as irritants or second class citizens who have no right to live or who do not deserve to have a source of living.
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“The state governments formulate obnoxious laws targeted at chasing our people away. They ban open grazing without providing infrastructure for alternatives. They therefore seize our cows and arrest our people recklessly, fine them unreasonable amounts and everyone is watching as if all is well.
“The Fulani have been the target of stereotypes, ethnic cleansing and mass murder in almost all states of the Federation. From Zamfara in the North-west to Adamawa, Taraba in the North-east, Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa in the North-central, down to Ondo and Oyo in the South-west, or worse still the South-eastern states, the Fulani people have been a subject of hatred, annihilation for unjustifiable reasons.”
He accused the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, of using livestock guards to arrest and extort Fulani herders.
“Apart from the most recent bombardment of Tuesday 24th of January, 2023 in Akwanaja, there were similar airstrikes on innocent herders in Keana and Awe in Doma LGAs of Nasarawa State,” he lamented.
The Fulani leaders asked the federal government to investigate the killing of the herders in Nasarawa and disband the livestock guards.
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