By Achadu Gabriel, Kano
Apparently prepared, National Chairman of Fulbe, Fulani Development Association of Nigeria (FULDAN), Malam Ahmad Usman Bello, has declared that no ethnic group can fight with Fulani face-to-face.
In what appears to be an assertion of the ‘supremacy’ of the Fulani ethnic group over all others in the country, the chairman said his ethnic group remained unbeatable, and any ethnic group that fights it would be doing so at its own peril.
Bello made the remarks in an interview in Kano on Thursday evening, against the background of the national outcry against the murderous activities of Fulani herdsmen in Benue, Plateau and Taraba states and many other parts of the country.
“Take it or not, Fulanis have remained unbeatable; no ethnic group can fight us face-to-face. Any ethnic group that fights us will learn a bitter lesson,” the leader of the apex Fulani association in the country said.
He, however, said it was in the interest of the Fulani, which he described as “the largest ethnic group in Nigeria and, indeed, West Africa,” for all Nigerians to continue to live in peace and unity.
According to him, should a civil war break out in the country, the Fulani would be the biggest losers because they have more people than any other ethnic groups in the country.
“It is in our own interest that the country lives in peace and, for the country to be united. If anything happens in Nigeria, we are the ones to lose because we have more people than any other ethnic groups. When you have more people, if any war occurred, certainly we Fulanis would have more dead people to record. And we are not beggars, as we are equally blessed with wealth,” Bello said.
In an apparent reference to the Benue State people, he stated that if the Fulanis wanted to take other people’s land, they could have done so in the past “when these people did not know how to wear clothes.”
Tracing the origin of the Tiv, Bello said the progenitor of Tivs hailed from Katsina State and had married a Junkun woman, who gave birth to those, who are today referred to as the Tiv people.
He declared the name of the father of the Fulani as Muhammad Katsina-Alla, who he said, had come to the present-day Benue and married a Junkun woman and fathered the Tiv.
“If one follows the history of all peoples in the world, they migrated from somewhere. Take America, for example: the Europeans migrated to America about 500 years ago. Can you then call them white American settlers? The Europeans also migrated to Australia and to South Africa with many years of struggle with the black majority to gain independence from them. Now, supposing they were majority, would you call them settlers?
“I want Nigerians to understand that wherever Fulanis settle, they always mind their business. It is wrong to refer to them as settlers because those who call us Fulani settlers are the ones to be called settlers.
“Igbos claim they descended from Jews but settled in Nigeria. Even Yorubas also claim they came from the Middle East, while Hausa people equally claim to have originated from Abyssinia, the modern Ethiopia,” Bello said.
He claimed that, while Yorubas are “asking for a country to be created for them and Igbos are using arms and ammunition to try to secede from Nigeria, Fulanis, in the various places they have dominated for centuries, have never asked to secede from the country.”
He added: “Fulanis have never referred to any group as settlers but instead they have carved out places for non-indigenes to go about their normal businesses without harassment or intimidation.
“Even in Kano, Sabon Gari was carved out for mostly non-Muslims resident in the state. Those that went for the Second World War, when they came back, in order not to ‘contaminate’ those indigenes on ground, a place called Brigade was mapped out for them to reside.
“We Fulanis welcome others but, unfortunately, Fulanis, despite being the largest ethnic group in Nigeria, in West Africa as a whole and, perhaps even on the continent, we do not discriminate.”