From Godwin Tsa Abuja
Benue Governor, Samuel Ortom, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently tackle the atrocities of Fulani herdsmen to save the country from drifting into anarchy and disintegration.
In his letter dated February 8, Governor Ortom, who recalled his earlier correspondences on the subject matter, lamented that the president’s failure to deal with the issue decisively has emboldened the killer herdsmen to wreak more havoc on the nation.
The letter titled: “Appeal to Act Before Herdsmen Drag Nigeria into a Civil War”, Ortom noted that the nation’s security challenges “have now emboldened assailants and armed herdsmen daringly to enforce their will on legitimate owners and occupants of ancestral lands.”
He observed that the actions and inactions of the president has reinforced the perception that his administration is not fair and just to all Nigerians.
Besides, he posited that the Open Visa policy of the Buhari administration has promoted unprecedented influx of Fulani herdsmen carrying sophisticated and prohibited weapons into the country. Regardless, Ortom commended the president for the appointments given to Benue sons and daughters and for responding to his appeal to deploy, upgrade and retain military operations in the state.
The letter called on the president to take the following actions:
“The Federal Government should develop a national ranching policy in line with global best practice in animal husbandry. Today, open grazing is extinct in most countries of the world. In Europe, America, Asia and in many countries in Africa, pastoralism has long given way to ranching. How can Nigeria still be battling with the problem of pastoralism that had been solved in other countries over a century ago? According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), India has 303 million cattle, Brazil 226 million, China 100 million, USA 93 million, Argentina 53 million and Australia 27 million. All these countries ranch their animals. Nigeria has less than 20 million cattle which could also be easily ranched. Unfortunately, the cows are allowed to either roam the streets freely or encroach on people’s farms and other investments. A Ranching policy in Nigeria will provide avenue for both crop farmers and those involved in animal husbandry to increase production, using modern technology. This is the only way out of ending farmers/herders conflict;
“Direct the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies to enforce Prohibition of Open Grazing Laws passed by various States of the federation;
“Abolish Open Visa policy and direct relevant security agencies to ensure full compliance with the ECOWAS Protocol on Transhumance.
“The Federal Government should immediately pay compensation to families killed and those whose properties were destroyed by the herdsmen in various communities across the country
“Condemn the atrocities perpetrated by armed herdsmen; arrest and prosecute the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and other Fulani Socio-cultural groups who have consistently admitted to the wanton killings and destruction of communities across the country. These include Husaini Yusuf Bosso (National Vice President of Miyetti Allah Cattle Herders Association), Badu Salisu Ahmadu and Umar Amir Shehu, (President and Secretary of Fulani Nationality Movement), Alhaji Abdullahi Bello Bodejo and Engr Saleh Alhassan (President and Secretary of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore) along with their sponsors.
“Proscribe Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Fulani Nationality Movement, Fulani Herders Association and other violent Fulani extremist groups, as was done in the case of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), given that the Global Terrorism Index ranks Fulani militia as the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world; LicenseLaw-abidingNigerianstocarryweaponsinself-defence;
“Ensure justice, fairness and equity in all issues relating to public safety and security and to support the resettlement and rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons as a result of herdsmen atrocities in all states of the country.”
He added: “Mr. President, this call for justice is the heart cry of every patriotic Nigerian. It is not a call against the Fulani race or any other ethnic group, but a call to make Nigeria work for every Nigerian in line with the Oath of Office we took as leaders, and your pledge to be a president for all Nigerians and to be for everybody and for nobody. Unfortunately, you seem to be tilting towards the Fulani at the expense of other nationalists…”