By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
Fulani youths, males and females affected by the ban imposed by their leaders on all socio cultural gatherings during the just concluded Eid el Kabir celebrations have expressed bitterness and reservations over the sweeping ban.
Many of the youths who were itching for the usual avenue to showcase their culture and traditions in dance and macho might but could not find the right place to do so, spilled into the state capital in search of leisure spots even as they moved around in groups, searching for where to hang out and wind down as sallah celebrations were rounded up Thursday evening in parts of Minna city, Bosso, Paiko and other places.
In their various colourful dresses, young teenage lads and youths were common sights in major parks, gardens and events centres as they clustered around such public places, though ostracized from the major pull of attractions where people were freaking out.
In their separate groups, they readily attracted attention of the onlookers and sympathy from those who understood their predicaments.
Our correspondent spoke to few of them at Murtala Park, a state owned play and amusement garden and at the Garden behind the state School of Midwifery in Tunga area.
Several Fulani youths who did not hide their displeasure over the ban, showed zeal to have platforms where they could socialise and fraternize amongst themselves with others as was the case before.
In Bosso, several clusters of Fulani youths were seen moving around the venue of a cultural dance festival and show organized by locals in the area to climax this year’s Eid el Kabir celebrations.
But a joint statement earlier from all the various Fulani cultural groups in the state reaffirmed the ban placed on all annual cultural fiestas organized by young Fulani men and women and stressed that the ban remains enforced throughout the state.
The various Fulani associations include the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, the Miyetti Kautal Hore Socio Cultural Association of Nigeria, the GAM Fulde Development Association of Nigeria whose stance on the ban was amplified by the Special Adviser to the state governor on Nomadic Affairs, Ardo Adamu Abdullahi Babayo and aired repeatedly on radio stations.
The warning bans all forms of Sallah gatherings by Fulani speaking extractions. The message said the measure was taken to forestall any breach of the existing peace and order in the state.
It reitteterated that any Fulani youth caught disrupting the existing peace in the state for any reason, the defaulter ”would be severely dealt with”.
This warning according to the Fulani youths spoken to in Minna by our correspondent, was a wrong generalisation which was in itself an infringement of the rights of law abiding Fulani youth.
A cross section of those who spoke on the issue, said outright ban of all forms of gatherings of the Fulanis would affect the development of the culture of the Fulanis in the future.
They suggested proper monitoring and counseling by elders and leaders amongst the Fulani ethnic extractions than the band wagon ban on all socio cultural gatherings which they noted could have a severe backlash consequences on the future of the Fulani people.