PANDEF, Middle Belt, INC describe request for creation of ministry of Fulani herdsmen as a distraction
…PANDEF president says ministry should be funded by proceeds from cows
The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) and the Ijaw National Congress (INC), have described as a distraction the request by the National President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Alhaji Abdullahi Bodejo, for the Federal Government to create a Ministry for Fulani herdsmen, just like the Ministry of Niger Delta.
Bodejo had in an interview published in today’s Saturday Sun requested that the Federal Government set up the ministry as a way of addressing the problems of the herders.
He noted that if a ministry could be created for the Niger Delta people, another could be set up for the herdsmen. But in his reaction, President of PANDEF, Sen. Emmanuel Ibo Essien, said, the Ministry of Niger Delta was a child of necessity. He noted that the mainstay of the Nigerian economy is oil, recalling that at a time in the past, the daily production of oil had gone down to about 800,000 barrels because of the activities of Niger Delta militants. To pacify the Niger Delta Region, the Ministry of Niger Delta was born, even as an Amnesty Programme was established.
“If the herdsmen feel that because Niger Delta got a ministry, so, every other people should get a ministry, then they should write to the President and the Federal Executive Council to see the necessity of creating such a ministry for them, so long as it would be funded from the proceeds of the cows.
“If the Federal Executive Council feels that the cows have brought so much revenue to the nation and that without the cows the economy of Nigeria cannot move, then they can create a ministry. After that, those who are in fishing will ask for Ministry of Fishermen and those into timber will ask for the creation of Ministry of Timber Men,” Essien said.
In the same vein, the president of MBF said that every person or group has the right to agitate for things that will make life better for him or its members but that such demands should not in any way infringe on the rights of others.
“Which Fulani are we talking about? The local Fulani or foreign Fulani? What this government has done is to allow the influx of Fulani from all over West Africa into Nigeria, and they have gone about killing people, displacing communities from their ancestral lands and trying to take over their lands. They unleash terror on the communities and chase the people out of their ancestral lands, leave them in IDP camps while the foreign Fulani roam around the communities freely. It is unacceptable,” he said.
President of INC, Prof Benjamin Okaba, said the Niger Delta is a geographical region with peculiar problems identified during colonial times, which was the basis of the Wilkins Commission that recommended a special area for special development agenda.
“For the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, the question is, where are the Fulani? Are they in space? Their leader should tell us their location. They should do a proper investigation of their status in Nigeria. It is another distraction, another waste of time.
“It is another way of showing that whatever they want, they get. It doesn’t make sense. The Miyetti Allah people are into business; there should also be a ministry for fishermen, ministry for spare parts dealers and every other occupation,” Okaba stated.