In the last six years, different interest groups in Nigeria have asked the Muhammadu Buhari-led government to label the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) a terrorist group over its alleged involvement in banditry activities.
The group had been accused of being responsible for the killings and slaughtering of innocent people in North-Central, South-East, South-West, and South-South regions.
Formed in the early 1970s and headquartered in Kaduna State, MACBAN was as an advocacy group for Fulani herders for many decades.
The activities of the organisation involved liaising with the government on behalf of pastoralists, land use rights, nomadic education and conflict resolution between pastoralists and farmers.
It also supported protecting and increasing grazing reserves for cattle breeders in the country. However, not all pastoralists intended to stay within grazing reserves and the organisation provided information to convince grazing reserve skeptics among the nomads to buy into the idea.
As the major promoter of welfare of Fulani pastoralists, increase in clashes between herders and farming communities, mostly from other ethnic groups since the Buhari-led government brought MACBAN into a wider consciousness.
With death tolls on the rise, many people pointed accusatory fingers at the group.
However, some notable Nigerians of Fulani extraction and others who are patrons and board of trustees’ members of the association have made it untouchable.
Serving as grand patrons of the association are President Buhari and his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan.
According to Wikipedia, the MACBAN’s board of trustees is always led by the Sultan of Sokoto.
“The group’s board of trustees is led by the Sultan of Sokoto and it receives funding from the board and other donors. The national chairman is elected every four years. When MACBAN was founded it received support from Sultan Abubakar III, Aminu, Emir Zazzau, Usman Nagogo, the Emir of Katsina and Ado Bayero, late Emir of Kano. The emirs of these emirates compose a part of the group’s board of trustees,” information about the group reads.
Muhammadu Sanusi, deposed Emir of Kano had in 2018 said he was a patron of the association.
“As I understand it when Miyetti Allah was first set up, they requested a few Fulani emirs to be their patrons in their capacity as emirs. The first grand patron was Sultan Abubakar III and he was replaced by successive Sultans – Dasuki, Maccido and Saad Abubakar now,” he told Punch.
“Other patrons were emir of Kano, Lamido of Adamawa and emirs of Zazzau and Katsina, I believe. So, my predecessor was a patron and on my ascension to the throne, I became a patron. This is all nominal.”