Prominent northern leader and former vice chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, has declared that no Nigerian can stop Fulani herdsmen from parading anywhere in the country.
Ango Abdullahi has said nobody can stop Fulani herdsmen in the country
Abdullahi based his argument on the dictates of the constitution adding that the Fulani herdsmen are businessmen like other businessmen in the country who go about their normal activities.
Abdullahi’s comment may be a response to the threat by the Ekiti state governor, Ayodele Fayose, that herdsmen would be arrested if they continued with open grazing in his state.
After the threat, some Nigerians commended Fayose, some others vilified him while Fulanis from Ilorin appealed to him to lift the ban.
The scholar said the herdsmen must be free to move from place to place and freely access the resources available to run their business.
“And if for any reason, somebody in one section of this country will deny him (Fulani herdsman) access then we have to take measures to respond to that.
“We are not saying that if a herdsman encroaches on a farm land . . . and this has been the tradition here for years; when they do, some crops get damaged and an assessment is made and they pay.
“So why all the petty attitude
“I see what is happening today as a new dimension to political and ethnic cleansing that if not carefully handled may lead to other big things.
“The herdsman is a Nigerian, his rights must be exercised.
“As a Nigerian, he has free movement like everybody else to pursue legitimate business and he cannot be denied access to any part of the country,” Abdullahi said.
He continued: “I am a Fulani man, my ancestors were in the bush, but we find reasons to settle in one place.
“I have cows and anytime they cause damage I pay compensation and so that is the way it will be.
“The Fulani man is a Nigerian, he has rights like any other Nigerian; he works freely to access legitimate economic resources of this country like land.
“Land is a common thing for all Nigerians. In fact, what really amazes me…there is no Nigerian I know that works as hard as a herdsman; he sleeps on the branches of trees, he has no permanent abode, he toils day and night with his animals.”