The National Secretary of Miyetti Allah, Saleh Alhassan, has called on Fulani herdsmen in the southern part of the country to defend themselves against any ethnic Militia group in any region they find themselves.
Alhassan said this in a telephone interview with the Punch barely 72 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari told the group to ignore calls by some members of the northern Elders forum to return home following threats by militias of the said regions.
He said, “We are Nigerians and we have a history. Anybody that thinks he can wake up and take on the Fulani pastoralist is making a grievous mistake; we are well prepared to defend our fundamental human rights of movement in this country.
“They (herdsmen) are Nigerians, so they are entitled to stay where they are. They should remain where they are and defend themselves against ethnic militia and assert their citizenship in this country.
“The only thing we would say is that we will hold all the governors of those states responsible for their safety and security, but if any ethnic militia, by any name, attacks our members, they should defend themselves in a manner that nobody would try such again.
“We have been saying it that people behind insecurity are not herders; bandits are behind these killings, and if the government is saying foreigners have infiltrated the herders, have they been arrested and what is their nationality? Anybody that is trying to destabilise this country should be dealt with.”
Recall that the South-East Governors Forum, had recently warned that it would no longer tolerate indiscriminate movement of the group in the south east region.
Also, Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, pan Yoruba group had through its President, Prince Osibote Oodua, warned that herdsmen found engaging in criminal activities would be forced to vacate the region.
The leadership of the three indigenous youth groups from the major southern geopolitical zones, including the Ijaw Youth Council in the South-South, are not left out, they had equally said three days ago that they could no longer tolerate the killings and threats from herdsmen in the zones.