The South-East chapter of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) on Monday said its interest in the region was purely economic and nothing more.
The Chairman of MACBAN in the zone, Alhaji Gidado Siddiki, stated this while briefing journalists shortly after a meeting of the joint executive council of the group in Enugu, Punch reports.
Siddiki said the clarification became relevant after increasing suspicion and speculation in some quarters about herders’ activities in the region.
He said the impression that their interests in the area were beyond economic activities was imperative to rectify.
Siddiki clarified that the belief that herdmen were harbingers of territorial expansionism by Fulani had degenerated into unhunhealthy relationships in most parts of the region.
Such skepticism had made association members increasingly uncomfortable, the chairman said.
He said the region’s herders were desirous of establishing harmonious relationships with the area’s citizens to avoid mutual suspicion.
Siddiki stated, “This suspicion is rooted in the speculation that herdsmen are harbingers of Fulani territorial expansionism.
“However, the leadership of MACBAN, under my watch in the South-East, has continued to discuss appreciably well with the individual state governments in the zone.
“I am happy that the dialogue gives us hope for a better understanding between our members and their host communities.”
He said the organization would not hesitate to report any of its members who have found themselves involved in illegal activities.
He called on the governments of the South-East states to ensure that members and cattle of the body are safe, adding that herders in the region would be required to take precautionary measures while pursuing their trade.
Siddiki said that MACBAN recognised that the challenges the herders were facing in the region were not peculiar to the zone, adding that there were bound to be conflicts between people of diverse cultural orientations.
He, however, said it was time to sort out the differences.
The MACBAN leader stated, “We, hereby, jointly resolve to fully lend our efforts toward fostering an enduring and harmonious relationship with our host communities.
“We urge members of our host communities to be more accommodating too.”
Siddiki described the people of the South-East as good and promised that MACBAN would not do anything to create tension in the area.
Source: Sahara Reporters