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Dr. Ibrahim Abdullahi, Assistant General Secretary, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN). He spoke on the Southern Kaduna killings and the role of the Fulani in the attacks.
Excerpts:
You are a Fulani man from Kachia in Southern Kaduna, what is responsible for the killings in the area?
A lot of factors, including ethnicity and religion; but recently, issue bordering on politics has started creeping in.
2011 post election violence that happened in that area affected everybody including the Fulani people, not only the indigenous Fulanis that have been living there for a long time, but it also affected the trans-humanist that were returning from western States and countries after the dry season grazing.
The development has been giving us a lot of problems. At the beginning, we thought it was only the indigenous Fulanis that were affected. So, it was in the process of dialogue and reconciliation and signing of Memorandum of Understanding on peace that we began experiencing attacks from time to time and we started asking questions.
The late Governor Ibrahim Yakowa then made us to embark on research and we got to know that other people outside Kaduna were affected. And as God will have it, we realize that pastoralists who were returning to their States and countries were also affected.
If you remember, that election happened around April and that was the time we have the trans-humanists passing through the State. We also realized that Southern Kaduna has four major international stock routes that cut across other sister West Africa n countries.
With the help of Late Yakowa and even shortly after his demise, we were enjoying peace including the Fulanis indigenes that have left the area. We trace them to wherever they have relocated and some of them agreed to come back and have done so. But after Yakowa, his successor did not show any interest and we began having these attacks here and there.
What happened recently is that, sometimes around March this year, someone went to farm on routes – primary – interstate and international routes. That brought a lot of problems because that farmer blocked the passage of cattle. But unknown to a Fulani herdsman, he came with his animals and they destroyed the farm accidentally and a fight broke out between him and two Fulanis who were passing by.
The youth of Ninte village on hearing about the fight, went and attacked the Ardo Fulani in the area, killed him and set ablaze about 60 Fulani settlements in the area.
Of recent, we have done everything we could to ensure total reconciliation. Then another attack was launched against two Fulanis. They were killed and 42 of the cows were also killed. And you know how a Fulani man will feel when he lost his animals and dear ones.
At a time, we came to realize that it has nothing to do with natural Fulani. It was politicians that are behind these attacks for whatever reason known to them.
After the post election crisis, we resolved to live together in peace. Fulani leaders in the area have been taking records of Fulani that come around. They equally set up a committee that is seeing into the interference. For example, if any Fulani destroyed any farm, he will be made to pay for the value of what he has destroyed and even with extra.

We did that because some people are sending their children to move cows about. A small boy of 7 years will be given 100 cows to move around knowing that there is no way such a child can control that herd. So, it is not true that our people are behind this.
There is a report that Fulani herdsmen are beginning to take over some villages that were initially attacked and their animals are now grazing on crops in those villages, how true is that?
Anybody who hears this story should know that it is a lie. How can they overtake the place, where are security operatives. Even the dreaded Boko Haram have not taking over and settle down in any place, let alone our people.
For your information, Ninte, where the crisis started have come and are living together in peace again. Areas like Gada Biyu, Godogodo, the people there have resolved to live together and they are already living together.
So, what do you know can be done to permanently address the frequent bloody attacks in Southern Kaduna?
I think the State government and security agencies should start looking beyond what is been reported on the pages of newspapers. It has nothing to do with us. As much as we are concerned, we are working hard to ensure we live together with these people just like we met our fathers lived with them.
It may interest you to know that I was taken from my home and live with a Jaba man who sponsored my education up to the level that I have reached. So, some of us want to see ourselves returning to those good old days.
Government should ensure that anybody caught fomenting trouble should be arrested and prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others. When there is example, people will come back to their senses.
Then, those of us that are interested in genuine peace should not relent. We should try to reach out to those who are aggrieved and who may have suffered in one way or the other during the crisis in Southern Kaduna through dialogue.
It is also important to add that Nigeria belong to all of us. We should see ourselves as our brothers’ keepers. Our religious and traditional leaders should not propagate segregation. They should be peace makers, custodians of law, culture and peace. Some of them are showing good example and I think others too who have not should join them so we can have peace around us.

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