By Henry Umoru & Joseph Erunke

ABUJA—THE Federal Government yesterday described the Fulanis who engage in cattle rearing across the country as very peaceful people who move around with the families in search of water and grasses for their cattle.

The government also said that those involved in clashes with farmers, killings and destruction of property were not Fulanis, but another gang of Boko Haram.

According to the government, the persons who have so far been arrested cannot speak any Fulani or Nigeria language.

Armed Fulani-herdsmen
Armed herdsmen

It added that those tagged suspected Fulani were foreign terrorists from other countries.

Speaking yesterday during the Public Hearing on perennial clashes between herdsmen and farmers organized by the Senate Joint Committees on Agriculture and Rural Development and National Security and Intelligence, Minister of State, Agriculture and Rural Development, Heineken Lokpobiri, said perennial conflict was a national and regional security.

He said the problem faced by herdsmen was also faced in Cote d’Ivoire, stressing that the problem was not  limited to Nigeria.

He said: “Available statistics to us in government show that contrary to media report that these violent herdsmen are the conventional Nigerian Fulanis, they are not, as none of those apprehended was able to speak any of the Nigerian languages.

‘’This gives  strong credence to the possibility of the violent herdsmen to be another form of terrorists in the mode of Boko Haram.

“The problem is not Nigeria, but regional, more so, when the Nigerian Fulani man has always been known to be a peace loving person.”

Also at the public hearing, there was sharp disagreement between the farmers and herdsmen on grazing routes.

Fulani herdsmen, under the aegis of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria,  MACBAN, rejected the setting up of ranches and supported the establishment of grazing reserves and called on the government to create Ministry for Livestock Development.

In a 24-page presentation by the Association’s National Legal Adviser, Mohammed Bello Tukur, Miyetti Allah Cattle said: “The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development should work with the ‘Ministries of Water Resources, Environment, National  Planning, Foreign Affairs, state governments, farmer organizations, and community leaders to demarcate routes and cattle resting points with support from technical and financial partners.



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