Prominent socio-cultural groups, Afenifere and Ohanaeze, have condemned claims by controversial Kano based Prof. Umar Labdo Muhammad, that the Fulani dynasty owns the Middle Belt area of the country.
Umar, a Professor of Islamic Studies and Political Thoughts at Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano, had in interview with Saturday Sun, claimed that the Fulani herdsmen have the right to graze in any part of the country unhindered.
He also said that the Middle Belt region belongs to the Fulani as it was earlier conquered by the Sokoto caliphate.
Reacting to his claims, the spokesman of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, said it was unreasonable for such a knowledgeable person to take that position.
He said: “In this age and time, 2018, it is very unfortunate for somebody to be talking of cattle routes, grazing routes that should still be enforced. The same professor has sent his children to Ivy universities in America and Europe, and he is encouraging the children of other people to be dragging cows from Maiduguri to Akure and other places. Why can’t he bring his own children to join the herdsmen.
“Modernity demands that these people build ranches and put in place facilities and be confined there, instead of moving cattle from one location to the other, and causing troubles. If he holds such views in this age and he calls himself a professor, it is unfortunate.”
According to the Afenifere spokesman, Umar’s position showed an imperialist agenda and a quest for domination and conquest, which should be resisted.
In the same vein, the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze, Uche Achi-Okpaga, noted that the position of the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation on cattle grazing has been unwavering, as it has declared that, there is no part of Igbo land that should be ceded in the guise of establishing a cattle ranch.
“Where on earth does it happen that you coerce people’s heritage and give to an advertised adversaries?” Achi-Okpaga asked.
According to him, “Ndigbo is passing through herculean crucibles under this regime and if this is another ploy to push us to the wall by unleashing the herdsmen on us, then we shall have no other option than to declare, to your tents oh Igbo”.
He said: “The South East Governors had obeyed our resolution by reaffirming it in their last meeting. Revisiting the concluded matter is tantamount to declaring war and civil unrest in the relatively peaceful Igbo land.
“It is needless going round the issue. Hitting the nail on the head is most apt in the prevailing circumstances. President Buhari is the one encouraging all these comments and killings in Nigeria.
“We are not running a parliamentary government. Here in Nigeria, it is presidential system where the president takes all the glory and, as well, the blames. A state government makes an anti-grazing law and a serving minister makes a public statement countering the existing law, which is accepted by the people it is meant to govern. It is not challenged in a court of competent jurisdiction and that minister is still enjoying the comfort of his office.
“Nigerians are killed in tens and hundreds in a staccato and unbridled brigandage and Prof Umar and the likes are making all these insinuating and untowardly statements.
“Why would people be making this kind of unlawful and thought provoking statements in this digital age to the effect that herdsmen should graze their cattle even in churches and mosques and kill all in resistance and he is not questioned? One can only construe that the government is heaping sand round their waists and the sky is now their limit in making inflammatory comments.
“Fulani herdsmen are killing people in the villages with jihadist embellishments and we are told to pray, while on each occasion the president assures that the perpetrators will be brought to book. No book has been seen neither has anyone’s name seen on it.”