A prominent Islamic Cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has urged the federal government to treat Fulani herders and other aggrieved groups as Niger Delta militants.
Gumi made the observation on Wednesday at the ‘Pastoralists and Fulbe Security Conference’ held in Abuja.
The event themed ‘Exploring the contemporary security challenges facing pastoralists and Fulbe in Nigeria’ was jointly organised by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) and northern consensus movement (NCM).
Gumi said, “Government should focus more attention on these people because they always say that they are aggrieved.
“What I expect from the government is nothing less than what it did when the Niger Delta youths were vandalising the economy.
“These people are also disturbing the Nigerian agriculture which is the backbone of national economy.
“I think the government needs to be more proactive. They need attention. The least they need is the ministry of nomadic affairs that will look into their affairs.”
However, the national president of MACBAN, Husseini Bosso, said it was no longer news that kidnappings and banditry had become the order of the day in many communities in the country, saying contrary to speculations that pastoralists were behind such crimes, herders were also victims.
He said, “What is baffling is that crimes perpetuated against pastoralists have no traction in the media. Our members have been the highest victims of criminality,” he said.
“MACBAN chairmen in Kogi, Niger, Nasarawa states and five other local government chairmen, including Gwagwalada area council, were all recently abducted and killed.
“This buttresses the fact that we are not spared from the atrocities of the kidnappings and banditry in our communities.”