Nigerian politicians have been accused of culpability in the endless crisis involving Fulani herdsmen and the local farmers.
President of the Miyetti Allah cattle breeders association, Bello Abdullahi Bodejo has revealed that politicians are responsible for purchasing sophisticated weaponry like AK-47s for herdsmen.
Bodejo wondered how many farmers in Nigeria could afford to buy an AK-47, adding that politicians take advantage of the clashes they have to fuel propaganda.
He said in a recent interview with Sun;
“There is a long history of clashes between the Fulani and the farmers in this country. Almost about 50 years ago, the Fulani and the farmers have been having clashes but the clashes were usually settled between the local chiefs and Fulani leaders but now since the last eight years, everything has changed. What is happening in Nigeria today is not a normal clash between the Fulani and the farmers.
The whole thing has been politicized and politicians are getting involved in the problem. In 2014 during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, there were clashes in Benue, Plateau and Taraba states but the media did not sensationalise it like what is happening now. In the present case, people are using all kinds of propaganda. Anytime the nation wants to go into a general election to entrench a new government, people would start all kinds of propaganda.
When one or two people are killed now, they would carry propaganda like a whole village has been wiped off. Now, there is no farming in the bush but anything that happens, they say it is the Fulani and farmers. Before, both the farmers and the Fulani, if they had a problem in the bush, they could easily settle themselves but now politicians are involved and they are preaching so much hatred between the Fulani and the farmers.
The problem is that the Fulani do not have access to the media because many of them are in the bush rearing their cattle. If for instance, you want to call a Fulani in Benue to know what is happening to them there, it may not be possible because you do not have the number of anybody there in the bush.
But the media especially the social media, they always write one side of the story. There is no balance in the stories that are being pushed out and because the Fulani are not in control of the media, anything or crime can be imposed on them and the people would erroneously believe it.
The normal thing the media should do is if they hear the side of the farmers, they should also go and find the position of the Fulani. What is happening now is that some politicians who are finding it difficult to come back to power are causing the problem.
Ask yourself how many farmers can buy the AK47 rifles that they say the Fulani herdsmen carry about. Instead of finding a way to end the crisis, the politicians are using propaganda to escalate it. Every time, they say it is Fulani but if you go to other countries where the Fulani are herding their cattle, have you heard any killings that were caused by the Fulani?
They killed people in Taraba and they said it was the handiwork of the Fulani but the people who did it are not the Fulani. If there are such killings, the security authorities like the police should be contacted and they should be able to tell the truth. Like I said, they are stigmatizing us using the media because the Fulani do not have access to the media.”
He also disclosed that most of the herdsmen arrested in recent weeks are not Fulani and that the politicians who bought AK-47 rifles for them are not Fulani. In his words;
“In the last two or three weeks, the police have arrested some people with AK47 rifles but those people are not Fulani. They are mentioning some politicians who are not Fulani for buying AK47 for them and I believe them because the poor cattle herders cannot buy AK 47.”