By Abdulwahab Abdulah
Lagos—Human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, has said that immediate disarming of the herdsmen by the federal government is the first step to ending the incessant clashes between farmers and the herdsmen across the country.
Apart from that Falana suggested that “the much delayed ranches should be established while all feuding communities are reconciled.”
In a statement Falana, was of the opinion that “With the establishment of ranches and abattoirs in a few states, meat would be prepared in large scale and distributed throughout the country and possibly exported.”
He argued that the creation of militia group or vigilante to tackle the menace would only lead to further crises and killings from the states, saying “The establishment of ranches is what has been done in Botswana which is the largest producer and exporter of meat in Africa. That southern African country of 2.2 million people with a cattle population of over 3 million has successfully stopped violent clashes between farmers and cattle herdsmen. Once ranches and abattoirs are established in Nigeria, all controversial anti grazing laws would become spent while Governor Ayo Fayose would not have any basis to risk the lives of the hunters in Ekiti state by mobilizing and equipping them with local guns to confront AK 47-bearing herdsmen.”
Speaking on the recent killings in Benue allegedly carried out by the herdsmen, Falana noted that the negligence of the government, especially the federal government could not be justified because, “as far back as May 2016, the authorities in Abuja had rightly decided to set up ranches in line with modern practice in civilized countries.
“The plan was announced by the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe at a public hearing organized by the Senate Committees on Agriculture, and National Security and Intelligence on May 3, 2016. On that occasion, the Minister of State, Agriculture, Heineken Lokpobiri, who represented Chief Ogbe said that as a result of climate change resulting from global warming and desertification, herdsmen had no option than to migrate southwards to find pastures for their animals, which now faced starvation in the North.’’