Alhaji Bello Bodejo is the President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, a Fulani socio-cultural organization. In this interview, he registered his displeasure with the level of hatred his people have received from the Benue State government. Excerpts:
Benue governor, Samuel Ortom, openly accused your association of trying to assassinate him. Is the allegation true?
That allegation is unacceptable to us and we demand a thorough investigation to unravel the true situation. We have used all available media platforms to inform Nigerians that we were never behind the alleged attempted assassination of the governor, but he has continued to shout to the world that our people are behind the assassination attempt.
The governor alleged that you and your human beings held a meeting in Adamawa on that count number. Is it actual?
Yes! We held assembly in Adamawa few days before that incident, however the meeting targeted on how to trade the awful photograph and belief of Fulani people in Nigeria. At the assembly, we advocated them to do proper to human beings so that our photo throughout Nigeria may be redeemed. As leaders of the affiliation, we severely sensitized our humans on the want to be regulation abiding no matter the provocations. We need to make other tribes and ethnic agencies to recognise our significance and recognise that we are not troublemakers, even though a few terrible ones among us are being corrected.
Did you talk whatever approximately Ortom for the duration of your meeting in Adamawa?
Like I said, our meeting targeted on how to trade the bad photograph and notion that human beings have approximately Fulani. The assembly had surprising illustration from government, safety corporations, traditional establishments and other stakeholders. After our assembly in Yola, Adamawa State, we set an time table for our humans on how to beef up peace amongst themselves and other human beings. But we were amazed that rapidly after our meeting on peace constructing in Adamawa, Benue governor, Ortom, who is presiding over a nation with exceptional tribes and ethnic groups alleged that our Adamawa assembly changed into to discuss the way to destabilize his nation and possibly assassinate him. That’s unfaithful and must be unnoticed. He’s used to talking towards us, inciting his human beings in opposition to us, so we are surprised.
Why do you watched he turned into doing that?
It has to do with us taking him to courtroom over the anti-open grazing law which he signed in Benue State a few years ago. That’s the only element that joined us with the governor. The court docket case remains on and we’re hopeful that the case will result in our favour.
Ortom’s allegations are weighty and it attracted the eye of the Federal Government to the factor that a delegation changed into sent to Benue. What attempt are you making to exonerate yourselves?
Ortom is obviously the use of his govt powers to oppress, harass and intimidate us. He has repeatedly displayed open hatred for our human beings and he has vowed now not to permit us have peace and do our trade. We need to be the ones accusing Ortom of seeking to take us off the floor of the earth through his executive actions. He has chased us out of Benue State thru the anti-open grazing law. His taskforce officers sieze our farm animals arbitrarily, inside the call of ban on open grazing. In the closing 3 months, our human beings have spent N87 million as first-class for open grazing and we’ve got the receipts; N5, 000 nice is positioned on each cattle arrested for open grazing. Our human beings are compelled to sell cattles to bail the arrested ones. We are custodians of Fulani tradition. Not most effective that, we are to ensure that our people are living peacefully with their host groups. Our reason for going to court turned into to demand reversal of the anti-open grazing law inside the nation.
You lately said there’s no greater Fulani in Benue State?
Yes! I can verify to you that there’s no Fulani in Benue for the reason that enactment of anti-open grazing regulation. Fulani people have left Benue to some other region. All the Fulani which are being arrested in Benue State are passersby or those from border communities in Nasarawa and Taraba states or different states.
What are you doing to ensure that your people escape from the horrific notion?
We are dwelling in a rustic with law and order. Our people are being persecuted throughout the u . S . A . Via unfriendly law, bodily and verbal assaults, and you may’t expect them to preserve quiet. For instance, Benue governor has taken pride in inciting his human beings against us as can be seen inside the form of treatment we get from Benue human beings. Ortom has grow to be a thorn in our flesh. He follows us anywhere and make certain that we are not located round Benue. He has championed propaganda towards us and we can ensure he by no means succeeds. We will use all peaceful means to make sure we reap the pleasant feasible outcome.
Are you taking steps to separate the criminals ones amongst you?
Since the coming of technological revolution that heralded the emergence of social media, Fulani has been verbally and bodily attacked extra than some other tribe in Nigeria. But all of us with right ancient information will know that Fulani people are the maximum non violent humans in Nigeria. It’s unfair to say that each one Fulani human beings are criminals. This isn’t true. There are criminals in all ethnic organizations in Nigeria, and that does not imply that all the humans of the ethnic organization are criminals. The fine issue to do is to fish out the bad eggs in the society and punish them according with the law in preference to vilifying the whole ethnic group. We need authorities to try this due to the fact they have all it takes to do this.
Are you privy to any organisation known as Fulani Nationality Movement (FUNAM)?
FUNAM is not regarded to us. We have located lately that whenever crime is committed in Benue State, the country authorities hyperlinks it to an unknown Fulani group known as FUNAM. That group is fake, doesn’t exist and no longer recognised to us. I even have never heard approximately it besides in the mouth of Benue State authorities officials. As they’re being cited within the media, so I listen approximately them too. They are faceless and we have no dating or hyperlink with the institution as being claimed by way of the Benue governor. I challenged you journalists and protection retailers to go search for them, talk with their contributors and understand greater approximately them, in the event that they ever existed.
Don’t you observed that lack of cooperation with other Fulani businesses was chargeable for the terrible consequences being executed?
Cooperation with who? The organization known to us is Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) that’s the umbrella frame of farm animals breeders in Nigeria. Anybody can be a member of MACBAN, however now not the same with our affiliation. Anybody who isn’t always Fulani can’t be our member. Note, we are not in opposition with them due to the fact their agenda isn’t always the equal with ours.
You stated FUNAM is best in Benue State, can’t deliver a test on the organization in view that your human beings are related to it?
I can’t speak approximately an organisation that is unknown to us. No member of our association ever advised us some thing approximately the group. None of our member even agreed to have regarded their operations. I propose that you ask the Benue State authorities, perhaps they may know higher approximately the group. For us, the institution is unknown to us, so, I don’t have facts about them. Besides, it’s the government that controls the security apparatus, so should even supply greater facts approximately the organization. We don’t have such powers and device to affirm that. Besides, there’s no Fulani in Benue State who may even ask questions.
Are you alleging that Benue State authorities hooked up the group to discredit your people?
That’s not some distance from the fact because It’s in his mouth that we started out hearing FUNAM. People must ask why there’s no such organization in other states aside from Benue. Security retailers ought to look at the organization to recognise their targets and objectives, in addition to their membishiyp.