From Paul Orude, Bauchi
Nigeria’s ambassador to Germany, Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, has criticised state governors who have asked Fulani herdsmen to vacate forests in their states, saying it is a wrong approach to addressing the lingering problem of herder-farmer clashes.
The governors of Ekiti and Ondo States have asked herders grazing in forest reserves in their states to leave for security purposes
Ambassador Tuggar has criticised the orders, saying it is dead on arrival.
Tuggar, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), made the remark on Monday at Central Primary School, Udubo, in Gamawa, Bauchi State, when he revalidated his party membership.
The politician, who was a former governorship candidate of the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) in 2011, said the constitution empowers all Nigerians to live anywhere, as he called for a permanent solution to the herder-farmer clashes rather than asking some people to leave a particular area.
He said the solution to the clashes is not segregating or looking down on any ethnic group but to educate Nigerians to understand current trends in pastoralism.
‘This is something that is a result of the growth of our population. Don’t forget that we are going to be 400 million people by the year 2050; we are going to be the third-largest country in the world and demographically,’ he said.
‘So, this is something we must find a more permanent solution to, the pressure and contestation to arable land and I think the solution really is education and better redefinition and approach to pastoralism and the understanding that it is transhumance and a way of life, it is a culture,’ he said.
‘You will find out that in Europe today that we keep talking about, you have gipsies and in the US we have cowboys. It is just understanding that we can subsist side by side with each other and continue to progress as a people. They themselves the herdsmen are contributing the way that farmers are contributing to our economy and our wellbeing.’
On the APC revalidation exercise, Tuggar expressed satisfaction with the turnout, saying it showed how strong the party is even though it is not in power at the state level.
‘We have a PDP government but that notwithstanding the party remains the strongest party at the grassroots, local government level, ward level, unit level. It is only a matter of time that the APC continues the good work that it has been doing at the federal level. No other government has implemented projects as this current administration,’ he stated.
On the criticisms by the former National Chairman of the APC, Adams Adams Oshiomhole, that the current registration of members in the party was unconstitutional, Tuggar said that the former chairman is entitled to his opinion.
‘That is a matter of opinion. Let it be tested. We are a law-abiding country. We have separation of powers, the party also has a constitution and some of the people that are criticising the exercise are going to register. Where are they going to register?,’ he queried.