Alhaji Garba Aliyu Maigamo is a Peace Ambassador and a respected Fulani leader that holds the traditional title of DattuwaManga of Wuntin Gumau, the largest Fulani community in Toro local government area of Bauchi state. In this interview, he speaks on the recurring face-off between farmers and herdsmen
How do you react to present situation where Fulani herdsmen are branded terrorists?
In the English context, any person that herds animals is called a herder, not necessarily a Fulani. It can be a Tiv, Mumuye, Alago, Berom, Mayango, Anaguta, Bogghom, Jukun, Taroh, Kuteb, Nupe, Hausa, Yoruba, Fulani, Igbo, Itsekiri, Nyandang, Wurkum, Marghi, Kanakuru etc. If that English definition is correct, then Fulani are not the only herders to be blamed for whatever is happening between herders and farmers. Every ethnic nationality is involved in herding. But we know the ulterior motive of those targeting Fulani herders as the cause of the skirmishes in various places. They will fail in their mischievous plan against the Fulani.
What is your take on the alleged presidential cover to Fulani herdsmen in the face of current atrocities they allegedly commit?
Presidential cover to Fulani for what and why? Is it because the President is a Fulani nationality? Let us know the atrocities committed by the Fulani that deserve the said cover. The Fulani are the most peace loving, patient and tolerable people one can meet but as humans, they can react to challenges when pushed to the wall like any other person.
Therefore, those ethno-religious jingoists dragging the name of the President and the Fulani to the cleaners are only being political, mischievous and stupid. Was the President voted to office only by the Fulani or what special assistance or support has he given the Fulani as his ethnic group? That is stupidity and display of crass ignorance for selfish interest. Some of those making the baseless allegations are more of terrorists than the Fulani.
What is the genesis of the recent Berom/ Fulani crisis in Plateau state?
As I said earlier, the Fulani are the most peace loving nationalities you can ever find anywhere in the world and are extremely patient and tolerant under normal situations. But once provoked and pushed to the wall as humans, they can go wild in defense and protection. As one of the largest ethnic groups in the continent of Africa, they always cherish peaceful co-existence. The master plan to frustrate, marginalize and to fight and wipe out the Fulani in Plateau state, was hatched long ago by various communities. The plan was known by the Fulani leadership over 20 years ago.
Today, Fulani are denied access to human and animal medication in government hospitals and veterinary clinics. Justice is beyond the reach of the Fulani even if innocent. The Fulani is turned to a punching bag because of their patience and tolerance. Their animals are denied access to official grazing reserves and dams. Most of the grazing reserves have been sold out to estate developers. When a calamity befalls the Fulani, no compensation or intervention is offered by government.
So, what is the way out of the persistent bloodshed in Plateau State?
We had thought everything is over between Berom and Fulani until the Berom started the crisis again. But to set the records straight, let me give some details that led to the recent breakdown of law and order in Barkin Ladi LGA and environs. These unfortunate incidents led to a full blown tribal/religious crisis on Saturday.
Governor Lalong should deal with these issues decisively, some people are out there to cause trouble to discredit his administration and that of President Buhari.
For instance, drive a pick-up van with cows in the trunk and pass via Kassa, Heipang, Mararraban Foron, Marraban Jama’a, Anguldi or alternatively through Nafang, Fan, Bisichi, Foron and Du villages and see whether you will come out alive as a Fulani, the hatred is too much and incomprehensible. Some hoodlums stay on the highways and give their allies details of vehicles conveying Fulani men or anybody that looks like Fulani conveying their cows to Kara (cow market) in Bukuru (Jos South LGA), once they pass through any of the two routes coming from Mangu, Pankshin, Bokkosand other LGAs through Berom so called land, they block them, lynch them and rustle their cows.
On June 8, four young Fulani men coming back from the Kara cattle market in Bukuru were shot immediately after Kassa Hill military check point, less than 2km from the check point. Over 300 cows were rustled between Fan, Dorowa and Jong villages of Barkin Ladi LGA and Kadunu/Langaivillages of Mangu LGA, when soldiers were sent to rescue and recover the cows, they received strong resistance from the armed Berom cow rustlers with even reports of some security men losing their lives. Up to date they’ve not been recovered. On 12th of June at around 8:00pm some Fulani people from QuanPan LGA of Plateau State were coming back from Bukuru Kara market and shot at Kassa hill before Barikin Ladi LGA secretariat unfortunately one of them lost his life. On June 13th a minor, Jaafar Salihu herding his parents cows, was killed at Nding village also around Kassa hill and his head removed. Then the last aggression took place on June 21 at about 6:00pm.
Some Fulani men Bala, Lawal and Ibrahim Kuwait on their way back from Kara market in Bukuru were shot, killed and their vehicle was set ablaze at Heipang village to be precise inside the railway round about.