From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Kano State Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has advocated what he described as ‘commercial grazing’ as a panacea to the incessant clashes between herders and farmers in the country.
Ganduje, who also reiterated his calls on the federal government to ban open grazing and block grazing routes from the northern to the southern part of the country, said herders would need to abandon ‘traditional grazing’ and embrace ‘merchant grazing’ in order to find a lasting solution to killings and wanton destruction of property that had characterised farmers/herders clashes.
The Kano governor made these known on Tuesday in his address at the Stakeholders Parley on Farmers/Herders Conflict, organised by the Ogun State government, held at the Obas’ Complex, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta.
The parley also had in attendance governors of Zamfara, Niger, Kebbi and Ondo States, Bello Muhammed Matawalle, Abubakar Sanni Bello, Atiku Bagudu and Rotimi Akeredolu, respectively.
The meeting was also attended by traditional rulers, representatives of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) and other relevant stakeholders.
Ganduje acknowledged that climate change has been responsible for the influx of herders into the country from the neighbouring countries, maintaining that open grazing was no longer sustainable and realistic, particularly in the face of conflicts between herders and farmers.
He said investigations have shown that herders wreaking havoc are foreigners who enter the country illegally through Niger in the north and Benin Republic in the south.
While noting that clamouring for eviction of Fulani herdsmen from the southern part of the country cannot solve the crisis, the governor called for strong resolution mechanism towards ending the conflicts.
He also noted that ECOWAS must take drastic steps in curbing foreign herders, who are always armed with sophisticated weapons from making an incursion into Nigeria.
Corroborating Ganduje, other governors present called for a ban on open grazing by herders and advocating ranching.
They harped on the need to collectively tackle criminal herders and their sponsors, who according to them have continued to sow discord of conflict between farmers and legal herders in the country.
In their respective remarks, the Ogun State chairman of AFAN and national president of MACBAN, Segun Dasaolu and Muhammed Kirowa, promised to work together and fish out criminals using the name of associations to perpetrate mayhem in the state.
Also speaking, the Sarikin Fulani of Ogun state and Zonal Chairman of MACBAN, Muhammed Kabir Labar, disclosed that since the conflict started in the state, his association had lost 23 members, over 1,000 cows had been lost, while 20 houses belonging to Fulani herdsmen has been burnt.
He noted Ogun has remained the best place to do business, saying “we shall join hands with government to surmount the security challenge”, just as he added that “perpetrators of these crimes are from the neighbouring countries”.
Earlier in his address, the Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, declared that his administration would not hesitate to deal with any group of people fanning the ember of discord in the state.
He explained that the stakeholders’ parley had become imperative in finding a solution to the farmers/herders clashes, saying the parley must come out with tactical recommendations to ending the clashes.
Abiodun disclosed that his administration had deployed a special task force that will be based permanently at the troubled locations.
He thanked the governors for honouring the invitation of the state, expressing hope that the parley would help in finding lasting solution clashes between farmers and herders.