By Olusola Adeoye
Fulani herdsmen from Chad, Niger and other neighbouring countries will benefit from the National Livestock Transformation Plan, the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, has said.
Mohammed, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday, said since Fulani herdsmen are nomadic, it would be inappropriate to deprive them from benefitting from the livestock plan just because they are not from Nigeria.
The initiative will be 80 per cent funded by the Federal Government while the states would provide 20 per cent counterpart funding and the grazing land.
The governor, whose state is among those that will be part of the initiative, said Fulani exist in many countries across Africa and share a brotherhood which transcends boundaries.
When asked how the government would ensure that only Nigerians benefit from the livestock plan, Mohammed said, “I think there is a lot of mistrust and misconception as regards the Fulani man. The Fulani man is a global or African person. He moves from The Gambia to Senegal and his nationality is Fulani.
“As a person I may have my relations in Cameroon but they are also Fulani. I am a Fulani man from my maternal side, we will just have to take this as our own heritage, something that is African. So we cannot just close our borders and say the Fulani man is just a Nigerian.
“In most cases, the crisis is precipitated by those outside Nigeria. When there is a reprisal, it is not the Fulani man within Nigeria that causes it. It is that culture of getting revenge which is embedded in the traditional Fulani man that attracts reprisal.”
When asked if it was right to allow foreigners to benefit from Nigerian taxpayers’ money, the governor said it was proper.
He said Fulani don’t actually have one single nationality since they are nomadic in nature.
Mohammed said “We are already accommodating them. Do you delineate and really know who is not a Nigerian Fulani man?
“They are all Nigerians because their identity, their citizenship is Nigerian even though they have relatives from all over the world. So, presumably they are Nigerians because they move all over and have relations all over. That is why our population in Nigeria is fluid.”
When asked if there would be any form of documentation for the Fulani herdsmen coming into Nigeria from other countries, the governor said, “Yes. This will give Nigeria the opportunity of having proper documentation and knowing the demography because the Fulani man settles anywhere he can feed his cattle.”
The livestock plan which is being championed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo seeks to put herdsmen and their livestock in designated colonies which will give them the opportunity of exploiting the livestock value chain.
While many northern states have embraced it, their southern counterparts have rejected it.