The National leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN), as well as those of the 36 states of the federation, on Sunday converged in Abuja to find lasting solutions to the challenges facing the group.
The National Secretary of MACBAN, Alhaji Baba Ngelzarma, while addressing newsmen at the National Mosque Auditorium, the venue of the meeting, said the conference would evolve strategies to improve the well-being of pastoralists.
He said the pastoralists were at the receiving end of all the crises, adding that they had lost more than three million cattle to rustlers and kidnappers.
Ngelzarma said considering the security challenges in the country, most people now regard the Fulani as criminals and which is not so.
According to him, pastoralists are not spared by bandits and terrorists as they are also attacked and their livestock rustled.
“Who are the owners of the cattle being rusted? They are the pastoralists. So we are at the receiving end of all the crises,” he said.
Ngelzarma said that the Kogi forest was dominated by Fulani pastoralists who, he alleged, were chased out from the South-East and the state has remained one of the most peaceful in the country.
“So this goes to show that not all Fulani are criminals. Therefore, profiling the entire Fulani ethnic group as criminals because of the criminal activities of a few is injustice,” he said.
He said that the tenure of the current executive of MACBAN would expire in April, adding that in the next two months the association would elect new executives.
“We come and go after every four years, now there is going to be an election that will be organised under the leadership and instruction of the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the association, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III,” he announced.
Earlier, a former Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Mr Solomon Dalung, urged the leadership of MACBAN to open up the frontiers and accommodate stakeholders who believed in the unity of Nigeria.
“If I have not been here today, I would still be living with the stereotype being dished out in the conventional and social media that the Fulani have an agenda to take over this country.
“I came here and discovered that MACBAN members are also in a helpless situation because so many leaders of Miyetti Allah have been killed by criminal gangs and to accept to be a leader of the association is a big burden, “ he said.
Dalung, however, urged government to improve on the security of lives and property of citizens across the country.
He also advised government to engage traditional rulers in resolving the lingering farmer-herder clashes in the country.
Also, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Bayero, said the outcome of the meeting would assist the government to enhance strategy towards addressing the challenges bedeviling pastoralists in the country.
Represented by Alhaji Aminu Sadiq, the Zannan Kano, the emir said “if we don’t voice out our own problems, how will the world know our challenges.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the meeting was attended by the representative of the Sultan of Sokoto, leaders and members of the association across the country. (NAN)