Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) has expressed displeasure at the deliberate misrepresentation of the indigenous demography of Yorubaland in Southwest Nigeria by the Secretary General of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Usman Baba-Ngelzerma.
Mr. Baba-Ngelzerma was quoted to have, during a live TV interview, said “In Ondo and most of the Southern states, we have indigenous pastoralists whose fathers were brought up in those states and those who are there today were also brought up there. So, if you ask them to go, they won’t know where to go because they know these states as their own states.”
The pan-Yoruba sociopolitical group, in a statement published on its website on Sunday said there is no Fulani settlement in any part of Southwest Nigeria that fits the dictionary definition of indigenous.
“There is no Fulani man or woman living in any part of Southwest Nigeria that can own the ancestral history of the community as his or her family’s history. Conversely, there is none among the Fulani families that first settled in Yorubaland whose history of migration cannot be told by the indigenous Yoruba people,” the statement, signed by the group’s publicity secretary, Kunle Famoriyo, said.
“The deliberate use of words that confer on the Fulani people a status that is not theirs constitutes a security threat and does not portray MACBAN and its members as peace-loving people. The subtlety in Baba-Ngelzerma’s choice of words is another confirmation of the MACBAN’s alleged surreptitious plan to grab and claim ancestral land for its members through inappropriate means.
“Baba-Ngelzerma’s claim that there are Fulani people who do not know any other place as their ancestry other than their place of birth owes its plot to mischief, deliberate distortion of facts, and a devilish plan to redraw the demography of indigenes of Southwest Nigeria,” it added.
The group acknowledges that “migration is a global phenomenon and anyone should be able to live in any part of the world that suits his or her ambition” but stated that “the ease of integration of a settler into a society is never determined by the settler’s terms, but by his or her readiness to abide by the laws and norms of the society.
“As the saying goes, when in Rome, do as Romans do. MACBAN members and other Fulani herdsmen want to settle here on their own terms and by employing the most repugnant and vicious strategy, which the Ondo State governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu SAN, has been stood firmly against.”