The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), South East zone said its interest in the region is purely economic.
The Chairman of MACBAN in the region, Alhaji Gidado Siddiki, made the clarification Monday while briefing reporters after a meeting of the joint executive council of the group in Enugu.
Siddiki said that the clarification of the activities of the herders in the zone had become necessary following growing suspicion and speculation in some quarters.
He said that it was imperative to correct the faulty impression that their interests in the region were beyond economic pursuits.
He said that the suspicion that the herdsmen were harbingers of Fulani territorial expansionism had degenerated into unhealthy relationships in most parts of the region.
The chairman said that such suspicion had made their members increasingly uncomfortable.
He said that herders in the region was desirous of striking a harmonious relationship with the people of the area in order 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,” he said.
He said that the group would not hesitate to report any of its members found to be involved in criminal activities.
He called on the governments of South East states to ensure the protection of their members and cattle, adding that herders in the area would be made to be precautionary while plying their trade.
Siddiki said that MACBAN recognised that the challenges the herders were faced with in the region were not peculiar to the zone, adding that there were bound to be conflicts between people of diverse cultural orientation.
He, however, said that it was time to sort out the differences.
“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.
Siddiki described the people of the South East as good and that MACBAN would not do anything to create tension in the area