The Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria (GAFDAN) has warned the federal government against advancing the sum of N100 Billion to Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) for any form of compensation or to halt the purported criminality amongst herdsmen.

Speaking with newsmen in Jos the Plateau State capital, the National Chairman of the group, Alhaji Sale Bayari, said if the reports and speculation about the government N100 billion advancement to Miyetti Allah is true, then there are better ways to empower herdsmen and that dealing with a particular group which has become political will not help the situation.

Alhaji Bayeri said should government do that, it would set a dangerous precedence because any association who wants to be relevant or invited by government will have to have an arm of armed bandits to qualify for government patronage.

"I have been hearing that the Federal Government is dealing with Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN). One of the areas is that the government wants to compensate herdsmen who have lost their means of livelihood, which is cattle. The meeting took place In Birnin Kebbi and I understood that the DG State Security Service (SSS),  the DG National Intelligent Agency (NIA), the Inspector General of Police, the Governor of Kebbi State and the Minister of Interior were all there.

"When the meeting took place, what I heard was that the government will also be giving some funds to the tune of N100 Billion in order to halt arm banditry among herdsmen. I was expecting them to say arm banditry among Miyetti-Allah since it was them they called, but they said arm banditry among herdsmen. Though I cannot confirm the outcome of the N100 billion, but I reliably learnt that reasonable millions of Naira was given to the leaders of the Miyetti-Allah.

"What government is doing is setting a dangerous precedence, because it would simply mean that any association who wants to be relevant and invited by government will have to have an arm of armed bandits to qualify for government patronage. This is very dangerous. And the federal government should understand too that it is very dangerous to reward criminality with government resources. This is because this cannot be sustainable.

"After giving them such huge sum, give them some few years the money will not be there any longer, and I bet you that in this particular case, the money will not be invested for the well-being of herdsmen. When the money is finished, those people will want to go back for more funds from the government. So, if this is true the government should shelve that plan at once," he said.

He noted if the government wants to assist the herdsmen in the country, they should set up a proper committee and it should be done through a commission like that of the Niger-Delta as well as through the Ministry of Agriculture. By so doing, he said, the committee or commission will look for memoranda from every registered Fulani association with the Corporate Affairs Commission.

The Chairman said they have about seven herdsmen association with good membership and reasonable control of herdsmen in the country, but that the government choose to deal with one association.

He said in their own association, they don't have criminal elements that will go and meet government to give them money so that they can stop criminal activities, despite the fact that they are in the six geo-political zones in the country and have official in the zones.

He said Miyetti Allah has become an appendage of a political party since 2014, but that not withstanding there are many ways government can patronize any tribal or cultural association without necessarily making them a kind of security outfit because it is entirely unconstitutional and unknown to any law in the country.

"What we have in GAFDAN is a security working partnership with the office of the Inspector General of Police and we have a covert vigilante group that supply us information about criminal activities of herdsmen or that of our members. We then work with security operatives in the country to help stop the dangerous tide. So, I am really baffled to hear that government is seeing or negotiating with one association. I do not know under which basis such should happen, and I do not know the blue print they gave to the government that such large sum should be given to them," he added.

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