Yoruba Ronu Leadership Forum says land displacements and reprisals account for Fulani related clashes in northern Nigeria, discarding Islamisation or Fulanisation agenda of ex-President Obasanjo.
Mr. Akin Malaolu, President of the Forum, said this in a statement on Wednesday, in reaction to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s allegation against the Fulani.
According to him, while the Forum supports government efforts to find lasting solution to the issue, it is totally wrong to give it religious or ethnic colouration.
“We can say succinctly that former president Obasanjo was deliberately deceitful and in greater dishonesty in his phantom claim.
”History which relied on facts and evidences are both missing in his conjectures.
“Modern generation of our youths and some elders may not understand that the North experienced two eras that shaped their entire land.
“The system of government before the advent of jihad was a period of prosperity that made it possible for slaves to rise through various tasks including the military,
”But with their conquest, the system of administration changed drastically and weakened the slaves and to their offspring.
“History recorded the events that gave the Fulani people a space in modern day Nigeria and their foothold in the North came through conquest beginning from 1808 [211 years ago]
Malaolu went further to use history to analyse contemporary developments in Zamfara.
“Further findings had shown vividly that property [land] is dominant at the centre of all conflicts and not fulanisation and islamisation.
“The conflict in Zamfara axis which displaced fulanis during the administration of former Governor Sani Yerima from 1999 -2007 disrupted a huge population of fulanis.
”That further inflamed anger and combatants were ready to die at both side,” he said.
On why the Fulani’s were still alleged of violence beyond the northern parts of Nigeria, Yoruba Ronu gave possible causes of such development.
“Today the magnitude has changed from conflicts to banditry and kidnapping but definitely, not fulanisation or islanisation.
”Some of the displaced Fulanis in Zamfara and other places that have lost their cattle during the period then resolve to such criminality as a means of survival.
“Like in every ethnic group, victims of those dissidents cut across both Fulanis and non-Fulanis, it is therefore, wrong to make blanket statement and endanger the lives of majority peaceful ones among them,” he said.
Yoruba Ronu said such statement could lead to nationwide crisis because unsuspecting public might belief such erroneous claim for the sitting President, Muhammadu Buhari, is Fulani by tribe.
The Forum, therefore, urged Nigerians to dissect comments made by leaders with a view to knowing truth from falsehoods.
“Boko Haram, banditry, kidnapping and other vices obviously, constitute menance, we should therefore give quality solutions rather than dwelling on false description of events.
“No perpetrator of violence should go unpunished but we must not demonise tribes or religions.
”Average Fulani lives peacefully with other tribes and contributes positively to the development of the society, hence the need to separate bad ones from the rest.
“Vigilance against bad elements is, however, important but preemptive attacks on innocent people and fulanis [Herders] must be avoided.
“Nigeria has a government and lawful agents created by the people and it is their duty to protect lives and properties,” he said.
Newsmen report that Obasanjo alleged sub regional plans to Islamise and Fulanise Nigeria and other parts of Africa while addressing a church congregation in Delta.
The statement has been generating praises and condemnation to the former President.