By Chinelo Obogo, Chukwudi Nweje; Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja; Magnus Eze, Enugu
Nigerians have hailed the call by Kano State Governor, Abdullai Ganduje, for the Federal Government to ban the movement of cattle from the North to South, in order to end the frequent clashes between the Fulani herdsmen and farmers across the country and curb cattle rustling.
Governor Ganduje made the call when he and other governors elected on the platform of the ruling Alł Progressives Congress (APC) had a special lunch with President Muhammadu Buhari in his private residence, at the weekend, in Daura, Katsina state.
The Kano governor, who made the disclosure while addressing newsmen called on the federal government to enact a law banning the movement of cattle from the north to other parts of the country.
While responding to questions on how far he had gone with RUGA project in his state, Ganduje said: “We are building a RUGA settlement in Samsosua forest, our border with Katsina, and we have succeeded in curtailing the effect of banditry in that area. So, we are building many houses, we are constructing a dam, establishing a cattle artificial insemination centre, a veterinary clinic and, already, we have started building houses for herdsmen.
“My advocacy is that we should abolish the transportation or trekking of herdsmen from the northern part of Nigeria to the middle belt and to the southern part of Nigeria. There should be a law that will ban cattle movement, otherwise, we cannot control the conflicts between herdsmen and farmers and the cattle rustling which is affecting us greatly.”
Former presidential candidate, Dr Yunusa Tanko and Chairman of the Arewa Youth Consultative Assembly, Mallam Yerima Shettima, who spoke to Daily Sun hailed governor Ganduje’s suggestion as a welcome idea, stressing that the frequent clashes between the cattle herders and farmers not only portrays the North in a bad light, but also threatening the peaceful coexistence of the country.
They both called on cattle owners and their herders to embrace modern ranching as the best option of grazing their cattle.
Tanko said: “The idea of cattle straying into farms and destroying people’s crops is not acceptable, that has brought for us in the North wrongly or rightly, a level of unacceptable accolade from our brothers in the South. The North has enough land mass that can take care of the cattle if only we can build ranches and take care of the cattle. Most of the cattle are owned by the elite, not the herders you see on the road. If the elite have invested that much in the cattle business, they should be able to build ranches for their cattle.”
For Shettima, the continued movement of herders and destruction of farmlands and crops has continued to threaten the peace of the country.
“The fact of the matter is that we can’t continue over and over to gloss over the surface of an injury without addressing the source of the injury. If there is to be a solution, let us go back to modern ranches, the world is a global village, we can rear cattle without causing harm to anybody or encroaching into anybody’s territory and without these attacks and counter-attacks. I agree with governor Ganduje that such law should be passed, so that we put an end to the incessant farmers and herders clashes.”
Ganduje’s call vindicates our push for anti-open grazing law-ADF
For the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), the call by governor Ganduje has vindicated its persistent push for states in the South East to make laws on anti-open grazing of cattle.
ADF’s spokesman, Abia Onyike, yesterday, declared that continued open grazing of cattle is a recipe for crisis in Nigeria.
“The Federal Government should listen to governor Ganduje’s advice to reduce the growing tension generated by Fulani herdsmen in southern Nigeria. If the tension is not checked, a civil war may become inevitable in Nigeria,” ADF warned.
Herdsmen must respect laws of Southern states –Afenifere
Spokesman of Pan Yoruba Cultural Organisation, Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, said that cattle rearing is private business and any herder who wants to rear cattle in any southern state must obey the laws governing that state.
“If Ganduje thinks that not bringing cows to the South would unsettle us, he is making a mistake. They are not giving the cows free of charge, they are doing business and he should know that many people in the South are already raising cows. They should not think that because they are bringing their cows, they should be killing our people; we are beyond that,” Odumakin said.
They should buy land for ranches –Middle Belt Forum
In his own reaction, President of the Middle Belt Forum, Dr. Bitrus Pogu, said: “The statement that Ganduje made is neither here nor there, and when the policy of ranching, which we have been suggesting as the best practice of animal husbandry around the world, is implemented, the movement would not be there.
“When you find people armed in their numbers coming to sack communities, then after that, cattle rearers will come and occupy the land. So it goes beyond the narrative they have been deceiving us with. The killers have to be flushed out of the country.
“What the governor said is based on sentiments rather than solution. He is trying to divide the country by that statement. He is saying Fulani should be in the north; which part of the north?” Pogu asked.
Ganduje’s position confirms southeast govs betrayed their people-ASETU
Association of South East Town Unions (ASETU) said governor Ganduje’s call for nomadic herding was somewhat belated though commendable.
National President of ASETU, Chief Emeka Diwe, said that “It is a “good morning” at afternoon.”
“But the shame, however, is that the South East governors who we have severally written on this matter have remained adamant. What the Fulani herdsmen have done to our farmers in the bushes is second only to the genocide of the civil war. Yet our governors are silent. This is an act of betrayal!”