The Herdsmen group, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria, South-East zone, has explained.
MACBAN in Igbo land, Alhaji Gidado Siddiki, who gave the explanation Monday after a meeting of the joint executive council of the group in Enugu, said that the explanation became necessary following growing suspicion and speculation in some quarters.
Sidiki said that the thinking that their interests in the zone were beyond economic pursuits was wrong, insisting that they are in the South East only to do their business of cow selling.
According to him, the suspicion that the herdsmen were aiding and abetting Fulani territorial expansionism was not true, saying such suspicion has created unhealthy relationships in most parts of the South East region, which he said has made their members uncomfortable.
The MACBAN leader explained that the herders in the region were interested and desirous of striking a harmonious relationship with the people of the area to avoid mutual suspicion.
“This suspicion is rooted upon the speculations that herdsmen are harbingers of Fulani territorial expansionism. However, the leadership of MACBAN under my watch in the South East has continued to dialogue appreciably well with the individual state governments in the zone.
“I am happy that the dialogue gives us hope for better understanding between our members and their host communities,” Siddiki said, pointing out that the group would not hesitate to report any of its members found to be involved in criminal activities to law enforcement agencies.
He urged the governments of South-East states to ensure the protection of their members and cattle, saying that herdsmen in the area would be made to take precaution in the course of doing their business.
“We, hereby, jointly resolve to fully lend our efforts toward fostering an enduring and harmonious relationship with our host communities. We urge members of our host communities to be more accommodating too”, he said.
According to Siddiki, the South East people are good people and that MACBAN would not do anything to create tension in the area.