The Coalition of Pastoralists Associations of Nigeria, CPAN, has called the attention of the Federal Government and the international community to the plight of herders.
The body, at a press conference on Tuesday in Abuja, alleged that the Nigerian state and other tribes are attempting to destroy cattle-rearing businesses and chase the Fulani away.
CPAN members include the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, Tabbital Pulaaku International, TPI, and Jonfe Jam Youth Development Association of Nigeria.
Others are Fulbe Development Association of Nigeria, GAFDAN, Bandiraku Fulbe Youth Development and Right Initiative, FGRDI, and Farmers and Hunters Initiative for Peace and Development.
President of MACBAN, Baba Othman Ngelzarma said the most effective way of suppressing a group of people is to destroy their sources of income.
The CPAN leader accused the authorities of watching the cattle-rearing business “go down the drain due to natural and man-made disasters”.
Backed by the “conspiratorial silence of government,” many citizens, especially sub-national entities, have adopted the culture of intolerance towards Fulani and their ventures, he alleged.
Ngelzarma emphasised that global warming, which has seriously affected Lake Chad, forced herders to move down to southern parts of Nigeria in search of water and food for livestock.
“While the Nigerian government has not lifted any finger to recharge Lake Chad and make it habitable for our people, it has watched helplessly as different communities and governments treat the Fulani as irritants.
“The state governments formulate obnoxious laws. They ban open grazing without providing infrastructure for alternatives. They seize our cows and arrest our people recklessly and fine them unreasonable amounts.
“The Fulani have been the target of stereotypes, ethnic cleansing and mass murder in almost all states. Fulani people have been a subject of hatred, annihilation for unjustifiable reasons,” he stated.
CPAN condemned last week’s killing of dozens of herders and butchers in Rukubi village between the border of Nasarawa and Benue States.
While he lamented that no high-ranking official has visited the families of the victims to console them despite public outcry, the MACBAN president also recalled similar airstrikes on innocent herders in Keana and Awe in Doma Local Government Areas of Nasarawa.
The pastoralists asked the federal government to immediately investigate “the killing of herders, punish offenders, compensate the victims’ families and disband militia targeting Fulanis.”