A group, the Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria (GAFDAN) has described recent crises between herdsmen and farmers across the country as the Fulani herdsmen’s way of pushing back against prolonged neglect and injustice.
According to The Nation, National Secretary General of GAFDAN, Alhaji Saleh Bayeri said Fulani people have been denied the freedom to exercise their rights like every other Nigerians because of prolonged hatred other Nigerians have for the ethnic group.
Bayeri said, “There has been so much hatred against the Fulani by other Nigerians over the years and successive governments never cared to see to the challenges facing the Fulanis in this country.
“We have been pushed to the wall and the only option we have is to fight back, especially as states are beginning to enact laws to further strangulate the only means of livelihood of the Fulani herdsmen in the country.”
He added, “The reason for the problem is obvious. The Fulani in this country are facing the toughest challenge of their lives, a kind of challenge that makes you to choose between life and death; they are facing serious economic depression.
“Historically, the herdsmen and their business have been neglected o by the people and government of Nigeria. It is therefore natural that for people that feel oppressed to want to fight back or resist oppression. As far back as I can remember, from 1970 till date, there has been no single government policy geared towards assisting herdsmen in any way.”
The group also called for abrogation of the anti-open grazing bill enacted in Benue and other states, describing it as an immediate trigger for the crises.
Bayeri said, “We expected the federal government to move in and stop the enforcement on this anti-open grazing law in Benue State, but since government does not care on any issue affecting the Fulani man, the governor was allowed to enforce the law and we can now see the consequences.
“From the last check, it was reported that over 70 people have been killed in Benue State in attempt to enforce an unjust law of anti-open grazing. People should ask the governor, is the enforcement of any law worth the lives of over 70 of his people. Has that law succeeded?”