Chuks Okocha in Abuja
Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, yesterday said the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) programme by the federal government would accommodate every Fulani herdsmen including those from Chad, Niger, Mali and other neighbouring countries.
The governor, who stated this while speaking as a guest on the Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, said Fulani herdsmen are nomadic in nature, adding that it would not be appropriate to deprive any of them from benefitting from the livestock plan on the account of being aliens.
The controversial NLTP programme is to be 80 per cent funded by the federal government, while the states would provide 20 per cent counterpart funding and the needed land.
Mohammed, whose state is part of the first batch to benefit from the programme, noted that Fulani herdsmen exist in many countries across Africa, stressing that they share brotherhood which transcends boundaries.
“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,” Mohammed said.
When asked if it’s right to allow foreigners to benefit from Nigerian taxpayers’ money, the governor said it was proper, adding that Fulani do not actually have one single nationality since they are nomadic in nature.
According to him, “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.”
On the question if there would be any form of documentation for the Fulani herdsmen coming into Nigeria from other countries, Mohammed 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 NLTP programme, headed and being implemented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, is aimed at providing one-stop location herdsmen and their livestock in designated colonies which would give them the opportunity of exploiting the livestock value chain.
Already, many northern states have accepted and embraced the policy, while the southern states are not comfortable with the plan.