National President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Abdullahi Bello Bodejo, has said that the Fulani in other countries don’t need visa to come into Nigeria. In an interview with VINCENT KALU, the leader of cattle breeders association, pointed out that desperate politicians were behind the incessant herders-farmers clashes.
The clashes between herdsmen and farmers seem to have reduced drastically, what is the reason for this?
The elections are over, and winners have emerged and there are also losers. The crises were mostly engineered by desperate politi- cians, who tried to use the clashes to score political points. These clashes reached their peak during the electioneering campaigns and after the elections, they have come down drastically.
Fulani herdsmen don’t have cattle colony, they don’t have grazing reserve, they don’t have RUGA, yet, the farmers are there and the herdsmen are also there and we are no longer hear- ing of clashes; that shows there is something to it that many people don’t understand, and we should begin to ask questions. In essence, there are no real herdsmen and farmers’ crises; it is purely hatred some people have for the Fulani. Some desperate politicians ignite trouble here and there so that the blame will be Fulani.
Since there are no more crises between the Fulani and the farmers, are you still insisting on RUGA in all the states as a way of ensuring peace in the country?
We need grazing reserves, and I’m urging the federal government, as well as the state governors to bring back our grazing reserves all over the country, in all the 36 states. The colonial masters, and the founding fathers of the country had already mapped out grazing reserves across the country and that should be restored. These reserves are still available in all the states; some of them are gazetted, while others are not; some of them are lying fallow, as people are not farm- ing there, there are no activities there, but out of hatred, they have refused the Fulani to settle there.
What is the position of your group in 2023, regarding where political power should re- side?
Nobody can say where political power should go, it is God that gives power and He determines where power should go. My concern is that people should stop igniting crisis in order to win election. Our group has not decided on 2023 be- cause the journey is still very far.
People are alleging that the free visa policy the federal government is proposing is a ploy to bring in Fulani from different countries, as part of the Fulanisation agenda, what is your position on this?
This is democracy, anybody can say and criticise anything. Fulani are all over Africa and they are the biggest ethnic group in the world, they don’t have border; nothing concerns them with visa. With their cows, they can cross any border and go anywhere they want where there is green pasture.
What concerns Fulani with visa? The Fulani that need visa are very few, and they are the very educated ones and are in government in other countries. Free visa or no free visa, Fulani don’t have any border.
Do you mean they can go in and out of the country at any time without visa?
Oh yes. They go anywhere they want from anywhere without visa all over the whole world, not only in Africa. They can migrate from Sahel, from Sudan, from Chad, from Niger, from Cameroun to here (Nigeria), nothing concerns them with visa. Even before now that bandits are trying to spoil Fulani name and image, there is nothing that concerns them with visa; the country where they just want to enter, they will enter and you can just see them.
So, those who are troubling themselves that the free visa policy that President Buhari wants to introduce was aimed at bringing in the Fulani from other countries should hold their peace as there is nothing that concerns the Fulani with visa, as they are well organized and already know how they do their movements with their cows; anywhere they see grass they start grazing in that area. They don’t need visa, you can see them they just appear there and start their grazing business.
Reports have it that the meeting Fulani ethnic groups across West Africa had in Banjul, Gambia, penultimate Saturday, where you were in attendance was in furtherance of the free visa policy and how the race can flood Nigeria. Is that true?
I had an invitation from the Fulani from Africa, particularly Gambia for Fulani festival, where they were displaying various Fulani cultures. Our association, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore is a Fulani socio-cultural organisation. Anything that concerns the cultures of the Fulani the world over, they usually invite me. There is nothing like going there to organise on how to take over Nigeria. Fulani is Fulani, whether in Chad, Niger, Cameroun, Sudan, there may be a very insignificant slight change in the language. So, they invited us to come and see the Fulani brothers all over Africa.
You said, Fulani is Fulani all over, what is the difference between Fulani and Hausa?
There is a great difference. For example, if they married your mother from Hausa, you can’t say you are Fulani or Hausa; you are Hausa-Fulani, that is the little difference. Fulani are different from any other ethnic group the whole world. If we marry from them and bear children then, they are Hausa-Fulani. Everywhere, people are trying to be Fulani. Hausa are not involved in cattle rearing, but it is only the marriage between us.
However, now everybody is involved in cattle rearing – Igbo, Yoruba, Berom, Junkun, Hausa, etc, and that this why the clashes are hap- pening here and there. Some people are trying to collect the business of cattle rearing from the Fu- lani, which they have been doing for centuries, so when these other people commit crimes or clash with farmers they would accuse the Fulani herdsmen of being responsible; Fulani cannot collect people’s land. Nobody can control cow if he is not a Fulani.
THE SUN, NIGERIA