President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday met with the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in the Presidential Villa, Abuja where they restated their resolve to support his re-election on February 16 and not former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
MACBAN said although the candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the February 16 presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was also a Fulani man from the north, the group will not support his bid because he failed as Vice President to secure the interest of livestock owners and businessmen.
Briefing State House Correspondents after the meeting, which held behind closed doors, leader of the delegation, Alhaji Mohammed Kiruwa, said the 20-million strong body was in the Presidential villa to endorse President Buhari’s bid for a second term in office.
He said the group’s endorsement of the President was on account of his administration’s sundry achievements which included, the successful clampdown on kidnapping and cattle rustling; the fight against terrorism and corrupt elements in the society as well as his commitment to the promotion of livestock development in the country and the welfare of its members.
“They are both Fulanis. Atiku had two terms as Vice President in this country. Under his tenure we did not see anything that was put in place to change the position of pastoralists in Nigeria. Throughout those periods of the boast administration, the subsector suffered the worst neglect ever.
“The grazing reserves were allowed to be taken over by farmers. The infrastructure in the sector were allowed to dilapidate, the reserve were not maintained. It is now that we have begun to see light at the end of the tunnel.
“And we know what Buhari did when he was in the PTF, he has a lot of passion for the development of this sub-sector. We also see the desire of what he wants to do to revive the livestock sub-sector in the country.”
In his remarks, President Buhari also appealed for calm among all citizens, saying that his government was disposed to give equal respect to all citizens irrespective of their ethnic, religious and geopolitical backgrounds.
According to President Buhari, “I appeal to all farmers and herders for restraint, mutual respect and tolerance for one another as people destined to live together in this great country. I appeal for patience and understanding as the administration works towards lasting solutions to these conflicts.”
While urging the herders to support him in the task of bringing lasting peace to the country, the President called on state governors to work with the Minister of Agriculture, who he said, had been mandated to work out a solution with the states by which herders will have access to water for their livestock, and farmers will have security against destruction of their farmlands.