As the controversy over the implementation of the Ruga settlement issue goes on, It has been opined that the Fulani herdsmen are made to suffer unjust neglect from the three tiers of government in Nigeria, in terms of the provision of basic infrastructures and amenities.
The opinion was expressed by the National Women Leader of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, a Fulani socio-cultural association, Hajiya Baheejah Mahmood Abdullahi who explained that it is shameful that just now that the Federal Government intended to implement the Ruga Project, which has been opposed by some people that do not mean well for the progress of Nigeria.
She added that it is the enemies of Nigerian unity that are opposed to government’s laudable Ruga Project that will help to improve the living standard of Fulani herdsmen in the country, just as she advised the government to make a u-turn and implement the project in the interest of unity.
Baheejah Mahmoud who spoke to Journalists in Bauchi said that since government is for all Nigerians, it is expected to provide infrastructure and development to all Nigerians pointing out that only recently the Federal Government awarded a N3.9bn contacts for the Warri seaport, the 90-hectare Ibadan Inland Dry Port (IDP), estimated to gulp about $99.6 million (N35.8 billion) and no one opposed the projects and many others, “why are they opposing the Ruga Project that will benefit herdsmen? She asked, pleading that Nigerians should learn to tolerate each other and should be patient and avoid doing anything that will bring hatred, disaffection and disunity.
Baheejah Mahmoud said that, “nomadic Fulani are the only tribe that are suffering in silence, they are hated, brutally marginalized, lack sympathizers, voiceless, misrepresented, misunderstood, misguided by many different ethnics in the country and that most people want to take advantage of the major problem now is that their issue is politicized to achieve the selfish interest of mischief-makers”.
The Fulani Woman leader also said that, “the Fulani are not criminals, they are hardworking entrepreneurs, self-reliant, honest, reserved and conservative people, law-abiding, pay taxes as at when due and do not have access to basic amenities which the rest of Nigerians enjoy. They were labelled as criminals out of hatred and unfairness, but they are not”.
She added that, “There are many tribes where there are criminals committing various crimes and criminalities in Nigeria and have even excel to international levels but have you ever heard the names of their tribes being mentioned? People that stole from the Fulani, killed them makes them become hostile, what are they? Whenever you make an arrest of suspects, you have to go deep and find out who are their sponsors. If their sponsors are identified then you will know the real actors behind a Fulani criminals”
She further said that the Fulani gain next to nothing from the government of the country because they are mostly on the move, they do not benefit from the provision of basic amenities such as Schools, Hospitals, roads and electricity, tap or borehole water and bridges despite their contribution to the economic development of the country. especially the huge direct and in-direct contribution they make to the employment creation drive of the Government; groups such as butchers, traders in cattle and other animals, traders in hides and skin, makers of leather shoes and bags, and Yoghurt producing companies all depend on the animal product produced by the Fulani”.
Baheejah Mahmoud said that what the “Fulani need is a kind of Public, Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement with the government to boost the production of their animals and their products saying, “take for example, if the Fulani should decide to go on boycott for one week that they will not bring their livestock to the market, all Nigerians will then know and appreciate their contribution to the economy and their significant contribution for the well-being of Nigerians, Igbo, Yoruba and other tribes all come and do their business in the remotest Northern Nigeria villages without hindrance or discrimination of any kind, we must learn to embrace each other”
She then advised the three tiers of government to be fair and just to Fulani and all Nigerians in the interest of justice peace unity and progress in Nigeria.