Former vice chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, has said under the Nigerian Constitution, nobody can deny the Fulani herdsmen access to parts of the country.
According to Prof. Abdullahi, the Fulani herdsman is a businessman like any other business person, who should have free movement and free access to the resources that are available for him to run his business.
“And if for any reason, somebody in one section of this country will deny him access then we have to take measures to response to that. We are not saying that if a herdsman encroaches on a farm land and this has been the tradition here for years; when they do some crops get damaged and an assessment is made and they pay. So why all the petty attitude?
“I see what is happening today as a new dimension to political and ethnic cleansing that if not carefully handled may lead to other big things. The herdsman is a Nigerian his rights must be exercised as a Nigerian he has free movement like everybody else to pursue legitimate business and he cannot be denied access to any part of the country,” he added.
He further disclosed that, “I am a Fulani man my ancestors were in the bush, but we find reasons to settle in one place. I have cows and anytime they cause damage I pay compensation and so that is the way it will be.
“The Fulani man is a Nigerian he has rights like any other Nigerian he works freely to access legitimate economic resources of this country like land. Land is common thing for all Nigerians. In fact, what really amazes me there is no Nigerian I know that works as hard as a herdsman; he sleeps on the branches of trees he has no permanent abode, he toils day and night with his animals.”