A Professor of history at the Faculty of Humanities, Maitama Sule University, Kano, Umar Muhammad Labdo, has given more clarification to his earlier claim that Benue belongs to the Fulani by conquest.
Reacting to the belief in some quarters that the Fulanis are migrants from Futa Jallon and did not own any land in Nigeria the Professor, in an interview, said “It is factual that Fulani originally came to this area from somewhere in modern Mali, which is called Futa Toro or Futa Jallon. It is an incontrovertible fact. But then, when did they come here? It was between 800 and 1 ,000 years (ago ). Now , people who migrated more than 800 years ago, they are no longer migrants.
“If you study the history of all people in the world, you will know that they migrated from somewhere else. Take America for example, Europeans migrated to America about 500 years ago.
“Now, is it proper to call white Americans settlers? They are simply not settlers but own the country. Also, Europeans migrated to Australia. Now, they own the country. Europeans migrated to South Africa and it took many years of struggle for the black majority to gain independence from them. Now, Adam, that is, the first man, did not live in Tiv land.
“So, Tiv people came to Tiv land, Fulani came to Tiv land, they came to Nigeria, they came to all areas that they live in today. The bottom line is that you cannot label them as settlers. If you call them settlers, then all the people and the rest of the world would be called settlers; that is the point that is being established.
“Don’t talk about original owners. Now, the right of conquest is recognised worldwide. And many of the people, who live presently in different countries, they are there and are living there by the right of conquest. And this right of conquest is recognised, even by our Supreme Court.
“One of my followers on Facebook, who is a lawyer, said he could mention 10 cases in which our Supreme Court recognised conquest as one of the basis of getting titles for land. So, don ’t talk about that. Who are the original owners? Original! When did they come?
“We submit that the first father of the Tiv was Mohammed Alla, who migrated from Katsina, that is why today, you have Katsina Alla! Let them explain, what is the meaning of Katsina Alla? So, this Fulani man, when he got to that area and fathered Tiv, there were other Fulani people there. That was why he came to join his own brothers.
“So, if you are talking about any original owners of the Tiv land, it is actually the Fulani. And the Fulani are the fathers of the Tiv and the Jukun are their mothers.”