FULANI herdsmen’s body the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (Macban) has announced that it is breaking off all relations with southwest Nigeria and the Yoruba ethnic group over the formation of the regional security network Amotekun.
Over recent years, heavily-armed herdsmen have been running riot across Nigeria, engaging in kidnapping, armed robbery and banditry. To address the problem, the governors from across the southwest geo-political zone decided to launch a regional security outfit named Amotekun, which translates to leopard in the local Yoruba language.
Backing up their plans with an official launch in Ibadan, the six governors have supplied Operation Amotekun with vehicles and equipment. However, the development has been opposed by some critics who have described Amotekun as an ethnic militia but over the last week, the governors and the federal governors have met and decided to draw up a legal framework to govern the operation.
Macban, whose members have been accused of carrying out a lot of the attacks, has said that it is breaking off all ties it has with the Yoruba nation over the matter. Alhaji Muhammadu Kirowa, the Macban president, said that the association and its affiliates will cease to support the political ambitions of the Yoruba people, saying that the much debated Amotekun security network was formed to disrupt cattle herders.
Alhaji Kirowa said: “We cannot be supporting those who are against us. The only reason for forming Amotekun is Fulani people, to drive us away from their land. Tell me are we not all Nigerians?
“I have seen that the Amotekun boys have been armed. If they are armed, we have no choice than to arm cattlemen because they need to protect themselves from the danger which Amotekun will pose to them.
“They cannot reject Ruga and also reject open grazing, they must choose one. All I can tell you now is that they are pushing us too far and they are really pushing us to the walls.
“We have held meetings with relevant government agencies and they promised to look into the issue. How can they go ahead with Amotekun when the police issued them notice to stop? How can they ignore the president’s directive? I see that there is an evil motive behind this security network.
“I heard they have also endowed them with charms to kill our cows. For any cow killed, their government will pay double for it and for every Fulani herdsman killed, violence will erupt. We have been oppressed for too long. It’s time to tell Yoruba people that we are not cowards and by Allah’s power, we will crush Amotekun and crush all their evil plots against the Fulani race.”