…says we won’t leave UNILORIN
Chairman, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association in Kwara State, Alhaji Usman Adamu, has expressed concern that President Muhammad Buhari is also not doing enough for the Fulani people despite being one of them. Besides, he urged the President not to forget the Fulani blood in his vein, warning that if he continues to neglect his people, God will ask him one day.
“I want Buhari not to forget that he too is Fulani; Fulani blood is in his vein and if he does not help us God will ask him”, he said. Adamu also wants the government to prevail on the authorities of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) not to evict members of the group from their current settlement on the school’s ground.
Adamu, who spoke with our reporter yesterday against the backdrop of the ultimatum given, last week by UNILORIN Vice Chancellor, Professor Sulyman Abdulkareem, for the herdsmen to vacate the university, also contended that they had settled on the land before the university came, hence it was impossibile for them to relocate.
The herdsmen had earlier appealed with the university management for time and pledged to come up with a response on the ultimatum by February 22, 2018. But when reminded about this yesterday, Adamu asked rhetorically, “where can we go?” “Even if they give us another settlement, we will accept but I don’t think it will work because we have a recent instance where the Emir of Lafiagi wrote a letter of commendation about one of our people who had stayed for over 20 years in his domain and wanted to relocate. When he got to Oke-Oyi the Yoruba people rejected him.
So, where are we going to stay that they will not chase us?” On May 11, 2017, 28 persons, comprising Fulani herdsmen, Yoruba and Hausa farmers, were dragged to an Ilorin Chief Magistrates’ Court for allegedly trespassing into the university land, destroying the school’s plantation and perpetrating other unauthorised activities on the university campus.
The accused persons were alleged to have resorted to poisoning the institution’s dam with chemicals, while also engaging in illegal felling of economic trees from which they made charcoal. AbdulKareem had at a special meeting last week told the Fulani settlers that “enough is enough”, stressing that the university could no longer condone the destructive activities of their grazing cattle on the university land, “as this is becoming too costly for the institution to bear”. According to the UNILORIN boss, “We have a multimillion naira programme that is currently at stake now because they (herders) have gone to the extent of uprooting tubers of cassava for their cattle to feed on. We cannot conduct any research or training on the farm again because each time we get to a point where their cattle can feed on it… they go back there and destroy it.
“We care about them but we cannot afford to keep them on our land again …if they want to continue to be our friend, they can live anywhere around us but they should realise that this is a sacred place”. But the Miyetti Allah leader claimed that the herdsmen responsible for the alleged poisoning of the dam and destruction of the institution’s research farms were not his members but belong to a group known as “Ga’Allah” which he claimed came from the troubled spots in Plateau State.
“I can swear by the Holy Quran that we have no problem with the university; none of our members has ever been arrested for any crime in the university and I’m proud of that. Our camp is about 20 kilometres from the university. In fact if you are with us you won’t know you are in the university. We are in a thick bush. We have a school, Gaa Usman Nomadic School, which is named after me, there. And even we have been here before the university; they came to meet us here.
That is the usual case of Fulani people in Nigeria; Fulanis are the first settlers in every country. “It is some Fulani at Bolunduro area who are members of Ga’Allah that have problem with the university. I cannot deny that some Fulanis have problem with the university but they are not our members because we have about nine of our boys working with the university as guards. We have no dam in our area and we don’t have many cows around here because we send them out of the country during dry season.
“The people in Bolorunduro are not in Miyetti Allah; they are under Ga’Allah. I had once written to the former Vice Chancellor to say we have nothing to do with those people. “Ga’Allah is an association they brought from Plateau and when they came I told the Department of State Security (DSS), the police, the Emir and the S.A Security that it is not a good association because they came from a place where there was trouble and they are not known unlike we that are known across Africa.” Asked the way out of the problem posed by the Ga’Allah group to the university, Adamu said, “government knows what to do”, reiterating that he had made personal interventions on the matter before now to no avail.
He said he had been coordinating activities of the Miyetti Allah Vigilante Group with support of the state government and Emir of Ilorin. He said the group had busted several high profile crimes such as a recent kidnapping of an oil dealer who lost N76 million to kidnappers in Kwara north and the arrest of armed invaders at Kaima. One of the ways out of the general clash between herdsmen and farmers, he suggested, would be for the state government to create an office of Special Assistant on Fulani Matters in each state and also release the Games Reserves across the country to herdsmen for use. He also wants government to build schools for them, saying Fulani people now want to be educated unlike in the past.
“We have these reserves across the country, from Bauchi to Ogun State, if government can release the reserves to us there won’t be problem between farmers and herdsmen again”, he said. But the Miyettti Allah leader lamented that government was taking Fulani people across Nigeria for granted and accused politicians of abandoning them after each election even when they had earlier romanced them for votes.
Police arrest rustlers with 233 cows
Meanwhile, the police in Kwara State have arrested a gang of kidnapers and cattle rustlers who went away from the state with over 233 cows. The Commissioner of Police in the state, Lawan Ado, who paraded the suspects before newsmen at the police headquarters in Ilorin also explained that the command had intensified operations in the northern axis of the state in view of increasing rate of criminality in the zone.
Ado while narrating how the cattle rustlers were arrested in Niger State where they had escaped to lamented that the command lost a man during an exchange of fire with the leader of the gang identified as Adamu Abacha. The police boss explained that the police from the Niger State Command were able to arrest the suspects after his command shared intelligence gathering about the movement of the suspects with the Mokwa Police Station in Niger State. Abacha, according to the police commissioner, after the clash with SARS operatives escaped to the bush, adding that while the operatives were combing the bush for him, they found his corpse in the bush and later recovered his AK 47 riffle buried in the ground.
Ado said 233 cows were recovered from the gang while six live ammunition were retrieved alongside the riffle recovered from their dead boss. He said six of the gang members who were arrested would be charged to court as soon as investigation is conducted. Ado also said that two people among the four suspected to have kidnapped a man, Hassan Taiye, in his mosque in Chikanda in Baruten Local Government Area of the state had been arrested. He said four men two of whom were in Army uniform kidnapped the victim and took him to an unknown destination after injuring his guard with a gunshot.
The police boss also added that his command successfully recovered10 motorcycles from a gang of armed robbers, who specialised in motorcycles theft in Ilorin. He said his men arrested two members of the gang after a pastor in the town reported the theft of his Bajaj motorcycle and disclosed that efforts were on to arrest the escaping members of the gang. (New Telegraph)