Sunday, 9 April 2017

Herdsmen-farmers’ clashes: Governor seeks ECOWAS’ intervention

Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State has called for the intervention of the West-African bloc, ECOWAS, to stop the incessant clashes between herdsmen and local farming communities in several states across Nigeria. Mr. Ganduje said ECOWAS should be allowed to come up with an enduring solution to the incessant clashes between Fulani pastoralists and farming communities in the West Africa, especially in Nigeria, where thousands have been killed in such clashes in states like Benue, Taraba, and Kaduna. The Northern State governors recently said most of the attacks involving herdsmen in northern Nigeria where by migrant herdsmen that were from neighbouring countries like Niger and Chad. “You will find a herdsman from a West African country moving about with a herd of cattle of 1,000 which narrow cattle routes cannot contain. Hence the need to trespass farms in search of fodder, which often led to very dangerous disputes,” Mr. Ganduje said. Speaking while receiving the national executive members of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, MACBAN, at the Government House in Kano on Saturday, the governor stated that since the herdsmen were itinerant, the best way out of their problem was a collective sub- regional solution. He argued that the herdsmen must change their lifestyles by settling in one location, to facilitate education and socialisation, as well as adopting value-added means of cattle breeding. He said studies have shown that the nomadic way of living is not the best. Mr. Ganduje, who lamented that many grazing reserves have been converted to farms and other uses, announced that his administration has concluded plans to establish Fulani model villages, with basic infrastructure, to enable the herdsmen settle in one place and concentrate on modern animal husbandry. The governor, who recalled that his government also trained 72 young Fulani herders on a ‘Train the Trainer’ animal insemination course in Turkey, said it would be impossible to for the trainees to teach local herders if they do not have permanent settlements. He disclosed that plans are in the offing for the establishment of a dairy market in the state as part of strategies to add value to the dairy value chain, while a dam and grazing reserve would be provided in Falgore forest to facilitate the establishment of a Fulani permanent base within the area. He praised President Muhammadu Buhari for initiating the Pastoral Resolve (PARE), a non-governmental organisation focused on solving the perennial conflict between farmers and pastoralists, even before he became president, noting that his administration has demonstrated a resolve to end clashes between farmers and herdsmen, which is considered a threat to national security. In his speech, the National President of MACBAN, Muhammadu Zuru, urged government to pay more attention to sensitising pastoralists and farmers on the need to shun violence. He also asked governments at all levels to focus on nomadic education. He commended the Kano State government for setting the pace in providing a permanent model settlement for nomadic herdsmen and for its determined war against cattle rustling, urging other states to emulate. Also speaking, a senior official of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Muhammad Abubakar, restated his ministry’s commitment to improve the economic condition of the herdsmen, stressing the need for them to consider cattle breeding as a vocation and not a tradition. The federal government had on Friday said it would demarcate 6,000km of cattle route across the country in 2017. The National Coordinator, Grazing Stock Routes, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mahmud Bello, said, “We are going to provide 6,000 kilometres of cattle routes across the country; we are going to open the primary routes first, while the state and local governments are expected to launch the secondary routes.”


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