Members of Myetti Allah have been advised to stop giving Fulani a bad name, as it would have a damaging effect on the Fulani yet unborn.
Speaking to the media in Makurdi on Sunday, James Vandefan, Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), decried the damaging effect of herding on Fulani children, who were deprived of education.
He argued that herdsmen doing open grazing subject under-age children to dehumanising child labour by making them trek long distances in the name of grazing while the owners sit in the comfort of their houses in the cities.
According to him, nomadic children are deprived of education and exposed to various forms of dangers, which could have been avoided if cattle were kept in the ranch.
He said: “Now you are taking a small child who will be trekking from Kano in the name of grazing, and you deprive him of education.
“The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) is also supposed to come in and arrest these children who are under-age or guardians or parents who send them to graze cows.
“They should be arrested because they are subjecting the children to child labour and depriving them of normal education.
“What is the essence of sending a cow to the bush from morning to evening and these cows are still looking very thin and unhealthy. The best thing is to embrace ranching; it is a very good thing.”
While asserting that the Fulani were known to be a peaceful race, Vandefan decried the negative effect the recent activities of herdsmen had in the country.
He lamented that Nigerians and indeed the international community were beginning to view Fulani as a violent race.
Vandefan, a senatorial aspirant, said: “The Fulani should look at the action of the herdsmen because it will have damaging effect on the generation yet unborn and this will not be a healthy situation.
“People are beginning to see them as a threat where ever they are and this is having a damaging effect on the entire Fulani race.
“We are saying these are foreign Fulani, but why do we give them room to infiltrate our fatherland and kill our people and still let them stay without being prosecuted?
“Miyetti Allah should understand that there is a thin line between nationalism and patriotism. If you are patriotic to your tribe, you make sure that you didn’t kill the ideal of nationalism, because patriotism should stop at the level of assisting one another.”
He said the anti-open grazing law is one of the best things that has ever happened to Nigeria, adding that only illiterates and misinformed persons find the law obnoxious or think it is anti-Fulani.
He said he was in the senatorial race to bring quality representation to his people.