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BAUCHI: Fulani herdsmen have been unfairly treated since independence –Isa Yuguda

A FORMER governor of the state, Malam Isa Yuguda, has backed one of his successors in office, Bala Mohammed, over the farmer/herder crisis rocking the Southwest and some parts of the Middlebelt of the country.

Yuguda alleged that the Fulani people, particularly the herdsmen, have not been unfairly treated by the Federal Government despite their contribution to National development since independence.

The former governor argued  that the herdsmen supplied the revenue being used for the running of the country before the discovery of crude oil.

He made the statement in reaction to the recent allegations connecting Fulani herdsmen to insecurity in Nigeria.

Speaking with journalists yesterday, Yuguda said: “I think the cattle rearers who have been herding for the past 200 years all over the country cannot just wake up in the morning and all of a sudden become AK-47 killers.

“And most importantly, the neglect of the Fulani, especially the cattle rearers who are presently giving Nigeria a minimum of one million cattle every day to slaughter and take as beef, their treatment by the Nigerian people have been most unfair.

“Most unfair in the sense that, at the time when Lord Luggard finished conquering northern Nigeria, they were the only source of revenue. They provided the revenue that jumpstarted development in terms of monopolizing infrastructure in the north including Benue state where they have been chased out now.

“They are pastoralists, they are people who provide beef for the country and you can see them as agricultural ventures or animal husbandry.

“There have been billions and trillions of investments in agriculture, in the forms of subsidies for fertilizer and so on, have you ever heard the federal government subsidizing pastoralism?

“What I am saying, in essence, is that the Nigerian state has not been fair to these people. The mindset, especially down South is that the Fulanis are gun-carrying people. There has been a clamour by senior citizens of this country that we should carry weapons but Governor Mohammed (Bauchi governor) made a remark to that effect, everybody was sentimental.

“When a senior elder statement said we should carry guns, where were you guys? Nobody wrote about it until Governor Mohammed spoke about it. These people deserve the right to defend themselves, let us stop being sentimental for God sake.”

He was making reference to Gov. Bala Mohammed’s statement that herdsmen need the AK-47 they carry to protect themselves since the government won’t.

Yuguda’s position had earlier been posited by the Niger State governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, during a press conference organised to update the public on the abduction of students and some members of staff of Government Science College, Kagara,  last week.

Bello had said the herdsmen,  unlike farmers, have been unfairly treated despite contributing to the country’s GDP and providing employment to people.

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