The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, has defended herdsmen over the alleged attack on farmers across the country, saying they did so in self-defence.
Leader of the group, Senator Dagiri Alkali said herdsmen moved into new territories across the country because members of the Boko Haram sect attacked them in the North-East and other parts of the country and stole millions of cows from them.
Stressing that Fulani herdsmen were also victims of activities of cattle rustlers in Katsina, Zamfara, Kebbi, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Plateau, Benue and parts of Kogi states where millions of cows were taken away from them, Alkali asked to know where Nigerians expect cattle breeders to keep the over 20 million cows in the country.
According to Alkali,
“When the reserves and forest were gazetted and reserved for cattle breeders, this incident was not there; but the increase in population has now wiped out the entire grazing reserves in this country; 400 and something of them all wiped out. And you have a population of about 20 million cows. Where do you keep them? And every one of us likes to eat meat.
“This is a venture that over 20 million people are engaged in. And nobody cares to know what the causes of this problem are. Presently, you know the case of Boko Haram. They attacked and decapitated the population of Fulani in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe and some parts of Taraba.
“The cattle rustlers have displaced the Fulani in Katsina, Zamfara, Kebbi, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Plateau and Benue and in some parts of Kogi. Millions of cattle have been taken from these herdsmen. So when somebody says a Fulani man killed somebody, I wonder why? How? It’s only a poor man that fights.
“But you, as the military people, you know self-defence is an art. In the military, if you are attacked, you have to defend yourself. You have been squeezed; you have to find a way to survive.”
Alkali also wondered why Nigerians have refused to find out the reason Fulani herdsmen decided to move to other territories in the country.