Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), South-East chapter, has pleaded with host communities in the region for protection for its members and their cattle, in view of the huge misconception held by the public concerning activities of the group.
Chairman of MACBAN in the zone, Alhaji Gidado Siddiki, who stated this while briefing journalists shortly after a meeting of the joint executive council of the group in Enugu, Monday, further explained that its interest in Igboland was purely economic.
Siddiki who noted that the suspicion trailing herdsmen as being tools for Fulani territorial expansionism in Nigeria had shaped the perception of host communities about the group, adding that the media briefing to explain the intentions of the cattle owners had now become necessary.
He said it was imperative to correct the impression that their interests in the region were beyond economic pursuits, as such suspicion had made members of the association increasingly uncomfortable.
He said herders in Igboland region were desirous of striking harmonious relationships with the people of the area to avoid mutual suspicion.
“This suspicion is rooted in the speculation that herdsmen are harbingers of Fulani territorial expansionism.
“However, the leadership of MACBAN, under my watch in the South-East, has continued to discuss appreciably well with the individual state governments in the zone.
“I am happy that the dialogue gives us hope for a better understanding between our members and their host communities.”
While stating that the group would not hesitate to report any of its members found to be involved in criminal activities, MACBAN urged governments of the South-East states to ensure the protection of members and cattle, adding that herders in the area would be made to take precautionary measures while plying their trade.
“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.”
According to Siddiki, ‘Ndigbo are good people,’ adding further that MACBAN would not do anything to create tension in the area.
“It is time to sort out the differences,” the MACBAN leader said.