The Commissioner of Police in Zamfara, Usman Nagogo, on Monday met with hundreds of Fulanis living in the state in his bid to amicably end the raging banditry in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the meeting, held in Gusau, was sequel to a similar one he had with representatives of the Hausa community and local vigilantes on the security challenges in the state.
NAN further reports that although the leadership of the state chapter of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association had been dissolved, Alhaji Ahmed Hussaini, spoke on behalf of the Fulani at the meeting.
According to him, part of the causes of the crisis that led to armed banditry in the state was the takeover of cattle grazing reserves by farmers and the branding of the Fulani tribe as thieves or criminals.
Hussaini lamented that there was a conspiracy of silence as the Fulanis were being maltreated across the state.
He said: “We have nowhere to take our case to because even the emirs that appointed our leaders as ‘Sarkin Fulani’ no longer come to our defence due to their involvement in politics and the weakness of their authority.”
Hussaini stressed that all the Fulanis wanted was an environment free of harassment to tend to their animals without molestation.
He said: “We are aware of increase in population the world over which necessitates the need for more farmlands to produce more food, but farming cannot go without animal rearing.
“The grazing sites should be divided into three with farming taking two parts while grazing takes one part so that our animals can feed.”
The spokesman who condemned both Fulani and Hausa involved in the killing of innocent people, however, blamed the act on illiteracy and appealed to the state government to establish schools around Fulani settlements so that their children could get good education.
The Commissioner of Police, Usman Nagogo, said the meeting was aimed at bringing lasting peace through the cooperation of both Hausas and Fulanis who have all along been living together.
He said: “I want to assure you that this meeting is crucial to the whole country and there will be no deceit or disappointment because we have realized that Zamfara has become a hiding place for bandits.
“If peace is attained in Zamfara, there will be peace throughout the nation.”
Also speaking, the Senior Special Assistant to the state governor on Security Matters, Alhaji Abubakar Dauran, urged displaced Fulanis to return to their settlements.
He assured them that any of their property taken over by the Hausas would be retrieved and returned to the original owners.
He said: “We know that many people are in possession of firearms cutting across the Hausa and Fulani communities and we are confident that gradually they will surrender such weapons as part of the peace accord.”