Sheikh Gumi creates Nomadic Rights Concern to protect Fulani cattle herdsmen

CONTROVERSIAL Islamic cleric Sheikh Ahmad Gumi has formed a herder rights organisation known as the Nomadic Rights Concern (Noric) designed to protect Fulani cattle herdsmen across the country.


Over recent years, Fulani herdsmen have run riot across Nigeria, carrying out very violent crimes including kidnapping, armed robbery, rape and banditry. In addition to this, their livestock have wrecked havoc on farms destroying crops and when villagers complain, the reprisals are very bloody.


To address the problem, several states have introduced an open grazing ban and have also established security and vigilante groups to combat the menace. However, defending the herdsmen, Sheikh Gumi said Noric was created to protect and defend them across the country and he called on the Nigerian government to address the herders issue in the same way it handled Niger Delta youths.


He insisted that the nomadic Fulani had been victims of banditry. In addition, the controversial Islamic scholar reiterated the need to create a Federal Ministry of Nomadic Affairs.


Sheikh Gumi said: “What I expect from the government is nothing less than what it did when the Niger Delta youths were vandalising the economy. These people are also disturbing the Nigerian agriculture which is the backbone of the national economy.


“The least they need is the Ministry of Nomadic Affairs that will look into their affairs. The issue that stands out glaringly is that pastoralists are both victims and villains largely because their voices are muffled by an unimaginable level of illiteracy and lack of know-how.


“Their rights are trampled upon or denied, leading to the much avoidable violence in the Nigerian society. Thus, the necessity to establish a non-governmental and apolitical organisation dedicated to peace and harmonious coexistence between various groups and ethnicities, especially amongst headers and farmers.”


Last year, the Islamic Sheikh Gumi asked the federal government to grant herdsmen linked with banditry an amnesty. At the time, he said herdsmen should be treated the same way repentant Niger Delta militants were.