Prof. Ben Nwabueze has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of using the proposed cattle colonies scheme to pursue a ‘Fulani supremacy agenda’, warning Nigerians to beware of the policy.
Nwabueze said this on Tuesday in a paper ‘President Buhari should not lure us into the deadly trap of establishing cattle colonies for Fulani herdsmen in every state of the federation,’
Dating the clannish agenda to 1804 to 1808 when Usman Dan Fodio, the progenitor of the late Sardauna of Sokoto Sir Ahmadu Bello, over-ran the Hausa kingdom, the constitutional lawyer said “In considering the religious implications of establishing cattle colonies in every state of the federation, it is necessary to recall to mind what Sheikh Gumi wrote about the Fulani quest.
“According to Gumi, the Sardauna’s well-known agenda of consolidating and perpetuating the idea of Northern Nigeria as one united entity “was not borne out of political consideration only,” but was also conceived as “a personal mission” handed down to him by his forebear, Sheikh Dan Fodio.
“The agenda had an accompanying ideology whose object, as articulated by the Sardauna, is to maintain Northern Nigeria as a theocracy ruled by a Muslim claiming to be divinely directed, with utter disdain for democracy, and with the Sharia as the supreme governing law; the non-Muslim minority ethnic groups in the North are to be used as “willing tools” and the South is to be subjugated and reduced to “a conquered territory,” which is not to be allowed to “have control over their future.”
“Thus was Hausaland together with other conquered lands, Islamised, and a caliphate established over Sokoto, with Dan Fodio as its Sultan. That was the price the Hausa paid for their hospitality in granting access to grazing land to the Fulani immigrant settlers,” Nwabueze noted.
“The Sardauna had conceived a kind of jihad, for the pursuit and possible accomplishment of his agenda, an agenda which President Buhari has now vowed to carry on to a finish.”
Nwabueze, who is also the leader of The Patriots, and the Igbo Leaders of Thought, said cattle colonies, if established across the country, would aggravate the herdsmen-farmers’ crisis.
According to him, the scheme is nothing other than ‘settlements’ of Fulani herdsmen in all parts of the country, with its dire religious, political and legal implications.
Agric Minister Audu Ogbeh has suggested that a colony of about 30,000 cows will require up to 300 herdsmen, who will settle in the facility with their families and relatives.
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Nwabueze, however, said Ogbeh’s emphasis on the process of acquiring land for the colony is misdirected, especially as it regard the ownership of the land after it is acquired.
“Does the ownership of the land belong to the Federal Government, or to traditional communities, villages and families supposed to have been divested of it? Does the right to the exclusive use, management and control of the land belong to the Federal Government, the cattle owners or the herdsmen?
“Perhaps, more worrisome, is the issue of the relationship of the Fulani herdsmen settled on the land and the political authorities in the state – the state government, the local government authorities and the traditional authorities, the town unions, the community development associations, the civil defence and vigilante groups, etc.
“Will the Fulani herdsmen settled on the land, the cattle owners and their association, the Miyetti Allah, not constitute themselves a “state” within a state?”
He believed the scheme is not intended to, and will not, stop the open grazing practice, which is the main cause of the problem. It may well reduce, but will not completely stop it.