Herdsmen under the aegis of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore have vowed to resist any plan to evict them out of South-West, saying they have rights to live anywhere in the country.
The group also vowed to avenge the alleged attacks and killings of herdsmen in the region.
Mr Alhassan Saleh, the National Secretary of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, said these in an interview with Punch against the eviction notice issued to herdsmen in South-West.
Saleh said it is wrong to drive herders out of any part of the country, adding that if there were criminals among them, it’s the responsibility of the government to identify and arrest them.
He said, “Nobody has the right (to evict herdsmen). If you say you are going to evict us, we will resist eviction. We have been surviving in harsh environments; if we do not resist, we will be wiped out of the planet. If you kill a herder, don’t go and sleep, we will revisit you, and it’s not because we hate your tribe. People attack herders, and in one way or the other, herders have found a way to retaliate.
“All those who travelled to the Benin Republic and others are coming back home. All those saying they will bar foreign herders from entering Nigeria are just playing to the gallery because if they are aware of the ECOWAS Protocols, they would know they cannot chase them away. That is why the position of the Bauchi State Governor is the true position. You have no right to evict anybody from any part of the country.
“Our number has increased recently because of the tension in Ghana and Benin Republics. The ones in Benin Republic have integrated with the Yoruba in such a way that they speak the language. They were initially living in the South-West, and they are coming back.
“They expected a reaction from us, maybe by way of attacking other ethnic nationalities. But that is wrong because the herders they are attacking are the innocent herders. Are the criminals representing anybody? They are doing their criminal enterprise. Our own pain is that the people who are supposed to know are pretending as if they don’t know.”
Recently, there have been agitations against activities of herders in the south-west as some of them have been accused of kidnapping and killings in the region.