PAUL OMOKUVIE, Bauchi
Elder statesman, Professor Ango Abdullahi, has lamented the suffering of Fulani herdmen in Nigeria, advising President Muhammadu Buhari to pay attention to the problems affecting them.
Ango, former vice-chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, recommended that the Federal government should rehabilitate 600 abandoned grazing reserves across the northern part of the country to address their suffering
He stated this on Wednesday while interacting with journalists in Bauchi
He said: “The stupidity that is going on about Fulani herdsmen in this country (is that) they have now become an object of politics. For every bad thing that happens in the country now, it is Fulani herdsmen; they have forgotten that the Fulani herdsman gets nothing from government, nothing, nothing.
“The Fulani herdsmen were better off when the British were here. The British created track roads for Fulani herdsmen, created veterinary clinics for them, created markets even cattle markets and so on for them having known that the economy of Nigeria particularly the agricultural sector, contribution of crops and livestock are very significant.
“Look at subsidies that are going to our farmers; you go and check if you will find out what subsidy (that is) going to herdsman, nothing.
“Nigerians should look at the contributions of the Fulani herdsman to the economy. He is in the bush 24 hours, with mosquitoes with tsetse fly, snakes and everything, and yet you are waiting to eat cheap meat here; what are you doing for him, you are having subsidy on electricity, you are having subsidy on water; you are having subsidy on roads, yet the Fulani herdsman has no subsidy whatsoever and he is the most hardworking Nigerian today but he is now being malign as the cause of insecurity and soon, of course his animals had been stolen and sold in the city, so when you deprived him of his animals what do you want him to do? He will be hostile.
“A lot of agricultural policies are not synchronised; Buhari did very well when he was in PTF. My company was one of the companies that were engaged to see how we could re-open cattle roots from Niger downwards all this have been abandoned now; there are 600 unattended grazing reserves in northern Nigeria alone. What you need to do is to rehabilitate them; I think this is the little you can do for the herdsmen, so far nothing and people are talking a lot of rubbish.”
Ango a former scribe of the Northern Elders Forum, urged the Federal government to do everything to encourage the private sector which is the major source of employment in the world to address the teeming unemployment in the country.
He said: “In the past, there was what we called Federal Man Power Board that constantly, measured and monitored the relationship between manpower need of the country and manpower training that is going on in tertiary institutions; that board was abandoned long ago; nobody can tell you precisely what is the man power need of a country precisely of everything of its needs for development, and there is no coordination between the needs in terms of tactical needs and the needs based on the training that were supposed to be offering in our tertiary institutions.
“The matter here which people have misunderstood is relating to civil service as a source of employment, civil service anywhere in the world including countries where we are copying our system of government doesn’t offer full employment for those who need it, if you go to Europe, go to the United States of America, government at federal, state and local councils, as soon as the total number of the public in employment is 5,6 and 7 percent of the total manpower in employment, the remaining balance is at the private sector.
“Where is the private sector for employment in Nigeria? Kano in the last ten years has lost about 15,000 companies, for various reasons like lack of power. Is it for policies that are hostile to private sector development?”