Fulani Herdsmen Not Nigerians, Says FGFeatured, Latest News, News Tuesday, May 10th, 2016
Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja
The Federal Government of Nigeria on Monday declared that the alleged Fulani herdsmen killing their host communities in recent time in the country are not Nigerians, let alone being the usual Fulani herdsmen known for cattle rearing and roving grazing in the country.
This was even as it disclosed that it has settled for creation of ranches as against grazing reserves across the country as the surest way of solving the perennial conflicts between farmers and the roving herdsmen.
Unveiling the plans of the Federal Government towards ending the crises in his submissions at a joint Public Hearing organized by the the Senate Committees on Agriculture, Rural Development and National Security and Intelligence on incessant violent clashes between Herdsmen and farming communities, the Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, said not less than 9 states across the federation had given 5.000 hectares of land each , to the federal government for the establishment of the ranches.
He said the ranches when created by the federal government across the country, would put to an end, the incessant clashes between the modern day herdsmen and farming communities.
According to him, the herdsmen labeled in the media as Nigerian Fulanis, are not, as none of the apprehended ones , was able to speak any of the Nigerian languages.
‘ Available statistics to us in government show that contrary to media report that these violent herdsmen are the conventional Nigerian Fulanis, they are not, as none of those apprehended was able to speak any of the Nigerian languages, giving strong credence to the possibility of the violent herdsmen to be another form of terrorists in the mode of Boko haram.
” The Problem is not Nigerian but regional, moreso, when the Nigerian Fulani man has always been known to be a peace loving person”. he said.
He said though the country has 415 grazing reserves for the herdsmen to feed their cattle but most of the reserves being in the Northern part of the country, are grass less due to problem of desertification.
He explained further that ranches being the modern way of rearing cattle and achieving the best of productivity in animal husbandry, would make Nigeria that has just 19million cows with a population of 160 million people to measure up with Brazil which has 220 million cows with similar human population with Nigeria .
According to him, through Ranches as the best way of rearing cattle, Brazil, United States of America, Saudi Arabia, are making the best of productivity in animal husbandry.
“While in Saudi Arabia where there is no cattle movement as we have in Nigeria but ranches, 4.7million liters of milk are realized on daily basis, Nigeria only manages to realize that on yearly basis” he said, adding that due to long distances of moving cattle around in Nigeria, many of the female cows suffer infertility as against their counterparts in Saudi Arabia, Brazil and USA with high fertility rate due to being reared in a particular place called ranches”.
Though stake holders from various ethnic nationalities like Tivs, Idoma, Ohaneze, South – South etc,through their representatives supported the proposal of the federal government for the establishment of ranches by kicking against continuation of grazing reserves policy, but the herdsmen under the auspices of Meiyetti Allah insisted that grazing reserves routes should be sustained.
The National Legal Adviser of the Group, Barrister Tukur Bello , submitted to the committee that ranches being planned by the federal government have been personally created by some of the herdsmen in some parts of the country.
He said creating grazing reserve routes across the country for the herdsmen will be the best solution to the incessant clashes between the herdsmen and farmers in addition to establishment of a Federal Ministry of Livestock Development in the country in line with what are available in Kenya, Tanzania; Ethiopia, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger Republic, Chad, Cameroon and Central Africa Republic.
Other recommendations made by the group are that “The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development should work with the ‘Ministries of Water Resources, Environment, National Planning,Foreign Affairs, State Governments to see to problems of cattle rearing in the country.
“Past interventions and reports on previous clashes should be reviewed and Comprehensive Livestock Development action Plan should be worked out from them.
“Funding for grazing reserves development should be provided from The CBN lntervention funds, SDG funds and support from Technical financial and developmentpartners like The World Bank, The Food and .AgriculTure Organization of The United Nations , UN—FAO}. The European Union, lnternational Fund for AgriculTural Development (lFAD) and others”.
Meanwhile the Chairman of the joint Committee , Senator Adamu Abdullahi sounded a serious note of warning to any Nigerian community that may want to take law into their hands against grazing reserve for now , by declaring that government alone can decide whatever it want to use land for.
Adamu who sounded the warning when representative of the Southern Kaduna people insisted that the Nigerian Fulanis were the ones killing their people and acquiring their land under the cover of grazing reserve, said” Nobody can stop government from acquiring land anywhere in Nigeria. Government is government , if anybody thinks he is violent , government has monopoly of violence.
Representatives of the Chief of Defence Staff, Lt – Gen Abayomi Olonishakin, the Inspector – General of Police , Solomon Arase and other security heads, along with elder statesmen like Profs Jubrin Aminu and Ango Abdullahi , also made submissions at the public hearing.
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