Contrary to opinions in some quarters that herdsmen appear untouchable in Nigeria, the National Secretary of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Baba Usman has said that herdsmen are also victims of crimes in the country.
Usman said this in an interview published by Punch on Sunday, June 2, 2019, while responding to questions about attacks allegedly carried out by herdsmen.
He said the claim by the Yoruba Council of Elders that the South-West is under any siege by herdsmen is part of the name-smearing propaganda against cattle breeders.
He said, “This is part of the name-smearing propaganda that has been going on about herdsmen. What does it (YCE) mean by ‘the herdsmen are untouchable’? Were the herdsmen not victims of the crime that has been taking place in the country? Over two million cows have been lost as a result of cattle rustling and the herdsmen were not described as bandits or cattle rustlers. So, they are also at the receiving end of all the crises in the country. Crime does not discriminate between tribes and religions”
“There is nobody you do not find in crime. The Yoruba are there; the Igbo are there; even among the herdsmen, there are criminals. As much as I know that herdsmen are not spared from the activities of criminals in the country, some of them too are criminals”.
Speaking for cattle breeders in the country, Usman said Miyetti Allah does not represent any criminal.
“We only represent those herdsmen that rear cows as an occupation — the peaceful ones. We don’t speak for criminals. We are not a criminal organisation. We are a peaceful organisation,” he said.
On Olusegun Obasanjo’s allegation about fulanization and islamisation agenda, Usman said he does not understand what the former president meant by Nigeria is being ‘Fulanised'
"I don’t know what he meant. If you don’t know what he meant, I don’t know what he meant by Nigeria is being Fulanised. I don’t know."
You’ll recall that the former president, Olusegun Obasanjo recently alleged that herdsmen and Boko Haram are making effort to fulanise and islamise Nigeria.
Obasanjo made the allegation while speaking at the second session of the Seventh Synod of the Anglican Communion, Oleh Diocese, in the Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State, on Saturday, May 18, 2019, adding that Boko Haram has grown beyond what Nigeria alone can tackle alone.