National President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Bello Abdullahi Bodejo, has blamed Nigerians for painting the entire Fulani identity dark due to the violations of a couple of rotten ones.
Speaking in an interview with Daily Sun, Bodejo said the generally bad image and perception of the Fulani ethnicity, is mostly down to the activities if herdsmen across the country.
He said his group which he said are the ‘custodians of Fulani tradition’, have been taking steps to address the problems, but are still being harassed and intimidated, especially by Governor Ortom of Benue State.
“Yes! We held meeting in Adamawa few days before that incident,” Bodejo said in response to question on recent attack on Gov. Samuel Ortom, by a Fulani group known as ‘FUNAM’.
“but the meeting focused on how to change the bad image and perception of Fulani people in Nigeria,” he added.
He continued, “At the meeting, we encouraged them to do good to people so that our image across Nigeria can be redeemed. As leaders of the association, we seriously sensitized our people on the need to be law abiding irrespective of the provocations. We want to make other tribes and ethnic groups to know our importance and know that we are not troublemakers, even though some bad ones among us are being corrected.”
On claims by Ortom that Fulani herders were responsible for the attack, Bodejo said, “Ortom is obviously using his executive powers to oppress, harass and intimidate us. He has repeatedly displayed open hatred for our people and he has vowed not to allow us have peace and do our trade.
“We should be the ones accusing Ortom of trying to take us off the surface of the earth through his executive actions. He has chased us out of Benue State through the anti-open grazing law. His taskforce officials sieze our cattle arbitrarily, in the name of ban on open grazing. In the last three months, our people have spent N87 million as fine for open grazing and we have the receipts; N5, 000 fine is placed on each cattle arrested for open grazing.
“Our people are forced to sell cattles to bail the arrested ones. We are custodians of Fulani tradition. Not only that, we are to ensure that our people are living peacefully with their host communities. Our reason for going to court was to demand reversal of the anti-open grazing law in the state.”
On efforts by Miyetti Allah to fish out criminals among them, he said, Since the coming of technological revolution that heralded the emergence of social media, Fulani has been verbally and physically attacked more than any other tribe in Nigeria.
“But anyone with good historical knowledge will know that Fulani people are the most peaceful people in Nigeria. It’s unfair to say that all Fulani people are criminals. This is not true. There are criminals in all ethnic groups in Nigeria, and that does not mean that all the people of the ethnic group are criminals.
“The best thing to do is to fish out the bad eggs in the society and punish them in accordance with the law instead of vilifying the entire ethnic group. We need government to do this because they have all it takes to do that,” he said.