Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin-Kebbi
Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagugu of Kebbi State, on Tuesday, has said that Fulani herdsmen needed help to change their old lifestyle and pastoral practices which they have been practicing for centuries.
Governor Bagudu, who lamented that all herdsmen recently are being labeled as criminals due to killings in some parts of the country, especially Benue, Zamfara and Nasarawa states, however, said that “Not all Fulani’s herdsmen are criminals. These killings have nothing to do with religion. It is just about lifestyle that need to be change”.
Governor Bagudu, who stated this during the disbursement of N93 million to various communities under the Kebbi State Community and Social Development Project(KB-CSDP)also said, Iin the last two weeks, news headlines from national dailies portrayed herdsmen as criminals.
“These pastorals are those people that are moving their animals around. The societal pressure and environmental changes have made this pastoral practice difficult. I was in the Senate in 2014 and we set up adhoc committee and the mission of the committee was to visit six states which included Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Katsina and Zamfara states, where farmers and Fulani’s clashes took place.
“Part of our findings was that in all these states, citizens of various groups who are acting like herdsmen perpetrate the crimes. Some of these herdsmen, I am not saying we don’t have criminals among them, but we have many of them who are just doing their pastorals and the criminal activities are affecting their lives.
” Whenever I visited Danko-Wasagu Local Government Area, the issue people raise is about security. People cannot go to their homes and farms. The case is different now due to the support we received from the Mr. President. We have achieved a lot of good results. Now our neighbouring state, Zamfara, is being affected now.
” It is important that we participate in a dialogue that would ensure that the pastoral, herdsmen issues are addressed. First, the issue is not a a religious issue; it is an economic issue. These people are risking their lives. It is high time their lifestyle be changed whether in Kebbi or in Benue State. So, I think it is now opt to all of us to help them. It is high time we helped them so that they can begin to enhance their lives, send their children to schools and be agents of economic change.
“Even among these Fulani, we have fishermen among them whose works are being threatened because of their old style of fishing and the current situation did not support that style now. It is time we started it in Kebbi so that other parts of the country can emulate us “.
Earlier, National Coordinator of Community and Social Development Project (CSDP),Dr. AbdulKarim Obaje, represented by Head Monitoring and Information Management Department, Federal Project Support Unitof CSDP, Mr. Niyi Oduneye, disclosed that more than one million dollars have been invested in Kebbi State.
He said that 27 states across Nigeria are currently benefitting from the CSDP programme, stressing that 78 micro projects, 48 projects have been completed in Kebbi State.
General Manager of CSDP in Kebbi State, Mohammed Yakub Yeldu, in his welcome address, disclosed that N93 million is being disbursed to different communities, saying that of the amount, CDSP had contributed N84 million while communities in the state contributed N9 million.