The fierce criticisms and public outrage so far expressed against the proposed Ruga Settlement for the Fulani ethnic stock, especially the herders, eloquently explains the coordinated rejection and marginalization that the group has suffered over the years.
Unfortunately, for no fault of theirs, the Fulani people have become complete strangers in their own land, and are most times treated with crass contempt by other Nigerians. I am yet to see or read about any ethnic group in Nigeria that is as alienated, rejected, abused and raped as the Fulani people. Kindly prove me wrong.
While representatives of other ethnic nationalities daily mount the rostrum to demand for their portions of the national cake and other privileges, the Fulani people are never considered or factored into any of such arrangements. An average Fulani man hardly gets anything from the system. These people have no access to basic infrastructure like electricity, road, healthcare services, education, and even a recognised platform to champion their cause.
Sadly, the Fulani elite group has become complicit in the gang up against the Fulani nation. The privileged Fulani elite group is only interested in grabbing power and building personal empires without giving a hoot about the the pitiable plight of the vast majority of the downtrodden among them.
Also, the murderous acts of a few bad eggs among the fulani has further compounded their problems. But punishing or discriminating against an entire ethnic nationality over the sins of a few isn’t a proper thing to do. If for nothing, let’s consider the law-abiding and innocent ones who are clearly in the majority.
Beyond the hoopla that the Ruga Settlement plan has generated, Nigeria hasn’t been fair to the Fulani ethnic nationality. Nigeria has tactically failed to integrate the Fulani nation into her fold. Nigeria belongs to all of us, and it is within our right to demand for inclusion and recognition. In all honesty, the Ruga Settlement plan isn’t all that the nation owes the Fulani. We owe them love, empathy, integration and sympathy.
Peace-building Initiatives or arrangements such as the 13 percent oil derivation allocation for oil producing states, Niger Delta Development Commission, North East Development Commission, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, National Amnesty Programme and Presidential Initiative on the North East were birthed to address certain injustice or neglect.
For the sake of fairness, I think same approach should be adopted in addressing the plight of the Fulani people in Nigeria.
The Fulani people are our brothers and sisters. We cannot afford to leave them out in whatever we do as a nation, especially in the allocation of our resources for development purposes.
Yunusa wrote from Abuja.