Fulani owns Nigeria by right of conquest – Prof. Muhammad Labdo
Presented here is the undisputed agenda of Fulani as revealed by Prof. Umar Muhammad Labdo.
Prof. Labdo is a member of Fulani think tank and a lecturer in the Faculty of Humanities, Maitama Sule University (formerly Northwest University), Kano.
- On who owns Benue State; The origin of Benue State is Bauchi and Adamawa Emirates; it’s historically Fulbe area (another name for Fulani). Benue State is a Fulani domain and not for Tiv. Originally, Tiv people were from Fulani tribe and Jukun; that is Tiv background.
- On the origin of Fulani; It is factual that Fulani originally came to this area from somewhere in modern Mali, which is called Futa Toro or Futa Jallon. It is an incontrovertible fact. Now, people who migrated more than 800 years ago, they are no longer migrants. If you study the history of all people in the world, you will know that they migrated from somewhere else. Take America for example, Europeans migrated to America about 500 years ago. Now, is it proper to call white Americans settlers? They are simply not settlers but own the country. Also, Europeans migrated to Australia. Now, they own the country. Europeans migrated to South Africa and it took many years of struggle for the black majority to gain independence from them. Now, Adam, that is, the first man, did not live in Tiv land. So, Tiv people came to Tiv land, Fulani came to Tiv land, they came to Nigeria, they came to all areas that they live in today. The bottom line is that you cannot label them as settlers. If you call them settlers, then all the people and the rest of the world would be called settlers; that is the point that is being established!
- If you say Benue belongs to Fulani by right of conquest. Is such a right greater than that of the original owners or people, who the Fulani met there? Don’t talk about original owners. Now, the right of conquest is recognised worldwide. And many of the people, who live presently in different countries, they are there and are living there by the right of conquest. And this right of conquest is recognised, even by our Supreme Court. One of my followers on Facebook, who is a lawyer, said he could mention 10 cases in which our Supreme Court recognised conquest as one of the basis of getting titles for land. So, don’t talk about that. So, if you are talking about any original owners of the Tiv land, it is actually the Fulani. And the Fulani are the fathers of the Tiv and the Jukun are their mothers.
- On Fulani been benevolent conquerors; Many of the people living in the area they live today migrated to that area. Fulani are very kind and benevolent conquerors because when the Europeans settled in North America, that is, today’s USA and Canada, they massacred all the people. That is why there is no one to call them settlers today. They killed them all and destroyed their means of livelihood. When the Europeans settled in Australia, they killed the Aborigines. That is why there is no one to call them settlers now. But Fulani, we did not kill anybody. We ruled over the people and some people are asking if it is true that Benue belongs to Fulani? Why are they not Muslims? Now, the answer is Fulani did not force anyone to embrace Islam. Even today in Kano here, you have people who are not Muslims and they are originally from here. We call them Maguzawa. That is why the missionaries had the opportunity to come here and convert them to Christianity. You have them in Bauchi and even in Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and Katsina. You have people who are not Muslims and are Hausa. So, it doesn’t mean that once Fulani are ruling in an area, all the people must be Muslims. Now, take the Arabs for example, the Arabs conquered what is today called Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt. The Arabs conquered those areas 1400 years ago. but you still have Christians there. Why? It is because they were not forced to convert. But Muslims lived for 800 years in Spain, they were exterminated and today, you cannot find an original inhabitant of Spain, who is a Muslim now. Why? It is because Christians would give you the choice to either convert to Christianity or get killed. That is what history is saying and I did not write that history. And the material proof is that Muslims ruled the areas I mentioned in the Middle East for over 1400 years and you still have Christians there.
- On cattle colonies; what we are saying is that just like we have others in our own area, who are doing legitimate businesses, without being harassed, we Fulani also have the right to be allowed to do our business, which is rearing of cows. We have to do that. Now, in every village and town in Kano, for example, which is my home state, you will find Igbo and other tribes doing business. You find Igbo in every village, however small it is. They open chemists and sell drugs. Now, nobody is either harassing or calling them settlers. Let me tell you, in Kano city here, our forefathers, between 40 and 80 years ago, even carved out places for settlers. For example, we have Sabon Gari, which was mapped out by the Emir of Kano for non-Muslim settlers, while Fagge is for Muslim settlers. That is why you have the Abachas there. Sani Abacha (a former military head of state) is not from Kano, he is not Fulani or Hausa, he is Kanuri. His parents settled in Fagge because it is the area reserved for Muslim settlers. So, now if we make room for others to live in our own land and they pursue their legitimate businesses and they make money and live peacefully, why not us? And why are people calling us settlers? What is the meaning of a settler? Everybody is a settler. No one was dropped from the sky in a place. So, wherever you see people, if you go back to between 100 and 2,000 years, you will find out that they were settlers. For example, the Jews are laying claim to Palestine. They left there 3,000 years ago. The Bible says so! Where did they live for those 3,000 years? They were settled in all the European countries. Now, they even settled and lived for over 500 years in Spain when Spain was ruled by Arab Muslims. Now, they are coming back to say that they are originally from here. So, in other tribes, if you follow their history, maybe they came from Congo, like my brother is saying or from other areas. So, what we are saying is that we are all settlers. So, if you want to call us settlers, call yourself settlers first before you call us settlers.
- On the need for Fulani to buy land to rear their cows; By the nature of their business, Fulani are roamers; that is why they are called nomads. What we are however saying is that you cannot just enact a law and overnight ask people to comply with that law. Fulani have been roaming around for over 1,000 years, then you will change that with a stroke of the pen. It is not proper. Then, if you talk of purchasing land, Fulani cannot purchase land for all their cows. If you compel them to purchase land, how many square metres will they need to purchase? Before now, there were cattle routes, spread all over Nigeria, which were recognised, even by the colonial government. These routes were mapped out and gazetted by the colonial government, but they have now been taken over by farmers. Now, the nomadic Fulani are not interested in owning land. We Fulani that settle, we all buy land and do not take land by force, like all others buy. For example, if I go to Ibadan or Lagos, I buy land there because I want to settle there. But why must I just buy land because I need it for between six weeks and six months before leaving? The Fulani are contributing to the economy of this country. People talk as if Fulani business is for themselves alone. Now, who provides the protein that Nigerians consume, 85 per cent of it is provided by Fulani. So, Fulani are entitled to be supported by the Federal Government, just like other people, with different occupations, they are entitled to be assisted. Now, the various state governments assist farmers by constructing dams for them in order to irrigate their land and so on. They even sell fertilisers at subsidised prices. Is that not assistance? So, if the federal and state governments help farmers and others, why not the Fulani? This is the question.
- On the killings of 73 people in Benue State; First of all, there was no proof that it was Fulani people who committed the atrocity. So, it was not Fulani who did that, at least we can’t say that with all certainty. I was tired of defence, defence and defence. I wanted our people to start attacking (in writing and speaking) instead of waiting to be attacked and defending, sometime, with lame defence. If you are in Nigeria, you should know how our people are being stereotyped and stigmatised and it has been going on for donkey’s years. So, we are always left to defend. So by my post on Facebook, I was calling on my people to start attacking; it is now time to attack if we want to survive because as you know, stigmatisation is a precursor to genocide. We know what happened to the Hutu people and Tutsi people in Rwanda. When you start stigmatising people, you paint them with a very gory picture for everybody to hate them. So, wherever they move to, they are killed. I was quarreling more with my Fulani leaders. I was calling my Fulani leaders meek, spineless, irresponsible and incompetent because they couldn’t defend their own people; that is what I said in the post!
- On other areas that belong to Fulani by conquest; For example, many of those who followed my post and responded were asking, now, can you say that Abuja belongs to Fulani? Yes, Abuja belongs to Sokoto, even as late as 1975, Abuja was part of Sokoto before the coup that terminated Yakubu Gowon’s administration. Abuja was part of North Western State, with Sokoto as the capital. What we know as Niger State today was under Sokoto. And that is why we have Suleja because when the Fulani donated Abuja to Nigeria, they took the Emir from Abuja to Suleja; go and read the history. Plateau and Taraba states are part of those Emirates that are close to them. Now, those who rule are those that are more civilised and educated. Now, Fulani happened to be more educated than all other tribes in Nigeria before the Europeans came. We are the ones who brought literacy here as we have manuscripts, hundreds of them, which were written between 300 and 500 years ago today, when no other tribe knew how to write. And that is why the lot fell on our people to lead in this country and we are still leading the people. We are destined to continue leading people; but I know, if people read this, they will say he is a supremacist or something like that, no! It is not like that. This is a burden and we pay for it. Sardauna was killed because he was a ruler. If he had not been a ruler, why would he have been killed? Murtala Mohammed (a former military head of state) was also killed. Why? It was because he was a ruler. So, it is a burden. It is not something we are proud of; it is a burden but we have to shoulder the burden because we are the ones who are qualified for it. Now, if others come, who are more qualified than us, naturally, they would take it. Currently, we are competing with others. We are aware that we are disadvantaged. The reason is that western education came through missionaries. That was why our forefathers refused to embrace western education initially because accepting it meant accepting Christianity. Now that there are many other tribes that are becoming more educated, we are competing with them. Jonathan, for example, led this country for five years! Then, we mobilised our people and others, like in the South West – the Yoruba people – and we took power from him and now, if others are interested, let them also use their initiative to mobilise people and take it from us. Then we continue like that. But, you told some people, leave my state and now, some leaders in Kogi State are saying that there is no land for cattle colonies in the state. Why? Is it not Nigeria or are Fulani not Nigerians? Who eats the cow and its legs and tails? It is the Yoruba and the Igbo. Fulani don’t eat beef; we eat goat meat and mutton. We drink milk and eat goat meat. Who eats the cow? It is others, not us. Then, people are saying, we have no land for cattle colonies. Okay! Let them not have land for colonies. Other states would have. Already, six states have expressed interest and said that they would make land available. Now, after two or three decades, people would invite Fulani to their states because they are not liabilities but assets. They are moving, with millions of naira and they are not stealing from anybody. You can accuse them of destroying your crops, but you can never say that they stole your crops. They don’t steal!
- On Fulani herdsmen keeping their cattle in ranches and not destroy other people’s source of livelihood in order to save theirs; We Fulani, who are educated and enlightened, know that our people are suffering and losing. And it is time for them to settle down, and we want them to settle down, but how? These people are in millions and their cows are in hundreds of millions. So, you have to help them to settle down, but not just by expelling them from one place to another place. The Federal Government needs to help these people to settle down. We are for settling down, whether you call it ranches or you call it colonies or you call it by any other name, as it is being done in other parts of the world, and the situation in Nigeria should not be different.
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