My Interview With The BBC World Service Radio On The Fulani Herder-Farmer Crisis-Fredrick Nwabufo

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It has become necessary to do this transcription owing to some reactions from people who did not even play the recording posted, but assumed in their own minds that what I said is the popular “single narrative”.

Fred: The two issues are land and water. In Nigeria… we have had reports of killings on both sides….

BBC: When you say both sides, Fredrick, who are you referring to, the Fulani and…?

Fred: The Fulani and the farmers. We have a clash between herders and farmers, and sometimes it is coloured to have an ethnic dimension. But that is not the case. I believe it is a struggle for water and land.

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BBC: And also Fredrick, Sorry to interrupt you here, you said it is being criticised to have ethnic division, but also religious because the Fulani are largely Muslims, and the farmers Christians, is that correct?

Fred: Yes. But I don’t believe that is the case. The Fulani are basically a nomadic people, and most of them are landless. These are people who have been abandoned on the fringes of society. The government has not looked into their own concerns. If you are telling them to abandon nomadic herding, you have to look for an economic alternative for them. So it is a struggle for land and water and not a religious or ethnic issue.

BBC:  You mentioned the government , President Buhari has come under criticism for not dealing with this, is the Fulani then an ostracised group within Nigerian society and is there no policy at all to integrate the Fulani into the wider society.

Fred: Yes. The Fulani issue predates this government. But the government has not done enough to tackle the problem. The problem is there is no methodical or humanistic approach to tackle the problem. I tell people, if you want this people to ranch their cattle you need to educate them. You don’t have to coerce them to ranch. Cattle herding is a sacerdotal pursuit for them, it is their culture. It is like taking their life from them…

This is my opinion.

Thank you.

Fredrick Nwabufo

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