Leaders of the Fulanis at Ladduga grazing reserve in Kachia Local Government Area of Kaduna state, together with other stakeholders, have challenged the 4,000 figure of relocated herders from Oyo to Kaduna published by the media, saying that there were only 107 of them.
A leader named Ardo Goge, told some peacebuilders and journalists, who visited four of the new settlements of the Fulanis from Oyo state, due to the quit notice given to them, that only 107 of them relocated with their children, women and elderly, which is in contrast to the 4000 figure initially published.
He explained that those 107 herders were initially from the community before they left for the South, saying: “They left the area eight years ago to the South in order to feed their animals and now they are back.”
According to him, no herder arrives in Ladduga without the knowledge of the community leaders. He protested that the returnees were peace loving herders, with a good record of promoting peaceful co-existence, even before they left Ladduga community to the South.
He challenged journalists and NGOs to prove that over 4000 herders had arrived Ladduga as earlier published in the media, saying that the media should always cross-check their facts before posting their news, to avoid unnecessary suspicions.
“These herders were our own people and we have been living with them in peace and harmony for many years, before they migrated to the south, and now they are back due to threat of attack. They are not foreigners, they are Kaduna state indigenes, it is the crisis that brought them back.
“we have given them place to stay and we have cleared the bush for them to build new homes with their families,
“But they lack many things like social amenities, clothes, foods as they came into the state without their normal cows and other animals we are used to seeing them with”
Dr Saleh Momale, a former permanent secretary of the Kaduna state peace commission, who is also a resident of the community, said he had been part of the fact-finding mission to Ladduga community.
Momale said that since the report that over 4000 Fulani herdsmen arrived Ladduga community, he had spent a whole day in the forest with some Fulani Leaders moving round to ascertain the number of those Fulanis that relocated from the south.
“From the facts and figures, we only received the report of only 107 Fulani migrants from the South, who were originally Fulanis from the area that came back home” he said.
He stated that some of the Fulani herdsmen complained of a lack of shelter, food and warming cloths against the harmattan.
Ibrahim Abdullahi, one of the returnees, reiterated their needs to include food and shelter, as their children were sleeping in open spaces and the ”weather is really cold”.
He therefore call on Non-Governmental organizations (NGOs), Civil society organizations, NEMA, SEMA, The Red Cross, Interfaith mediation centre and public-spirited individuals to come to their rescue.
Abdullahi also appealed to Miyetti Allah and all Fulani organizations to come to their aid as the community is in need of urgent help.