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We’ve taken steps to end herdsmen, farmers’ clash—FG

We must shift from grazing to ranching—CAN
We’re not opposed to ranching—Miyetti Allah

By Emmauel Elebeke

ABUJA—The Federal Government, yesterday, said it was not resting on its oars but taking steps to tackle the unending herdsmen and farmers clashes and senseless killings across the country.

It reiterated its position that the recent spike in the number of clashes between farmers and herdsmen across the country was  in connection with demographic, environmental, social and economic dynamics, as well as criminality.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this yesterday at a special edition of Town Hall Meeting, organised by the ministry in Abuja, with focus on the incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen, with a view to contributing to the ongoing efforts to find lasting solutions to the   crisis.

 clash

He said: “It will be simplistic and, indeed, a distortion to attribute the clashes to ethnic and religious reasons, and I say this without prejudice to what this meeting will come up with.

“There is also the issue of sheer criminality, e.g. cattle rustling. For those who might be tempted to view the clashes between farmers and herdsmen from the ethno-religious prism, I will cite two instances to debunk such postulation.

‘’Zamfara State is probably the epicentre of cattle rustling in Nigeria. Those who rustle cattle are Muslims. The owners of the cattle they rustle are Muslims. Both groups most likely belong to the same ethnic group.

“The Nigerian Army has recently flagged-off two Battalion Forward Operation Base, FOB, in Birnin- Gwari, with an operation tagged “Idon Raini”.   The Nigerian Air Force has deployed its Special Forces to the newly-established 23 Quick Response Wing, QRW, in Nguroje, Taraba.

State.

“The NAF also has a 1000-man Special Intervention Force deployed to Makurdi to degrade bandits and criminals in Benue and Nasarawa states. NAF has unveiled a new base in Kerang, Plateau State, with the aim of reducing its response time to emergencies. NAF has also deployed drones to flash points.

“President Muhammadu Buhari has also approved the establishment of a new Battalion of the Nigerian Army, as well as a new Police Area Command in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

The Federal Government has deployed 3,000 personnel of Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps Special Forces, known as ‘Agro-rangers’, to protect farms and agricultural investment in the country.

“The Police have deployed additional Five Units of Police Mobile Force, Police Special Forces, Police Aerial Surveillance Helicopters and Special Police Joint Intelligence and Investigation Team to Benue State.

‘’The Police has also deployed a surveillance helicopter to Taraba.

 

Plan ongoing to settle IDPs—Ogbeh

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, said the situation in IDP camps in the affected states “is very severe in as much as they, IDPs, want to return home but have no home.”

The Agric Minister disclosed that NEMA  was planning a settlement for them and will also provide security.

Also, he said that about 450 grazing reserves had already been identified and that plans were on to provide water and security in these areas.

We must change the narrative—Bugudu

The governor of Kebbi State, Senator Atiku Bagudu, called for change of narrative, insisting that farmers/herders crisis was connected to the existing land use problem in the country.

“We are dealing with a land use problem. The farmers are not finding enough land to farm; the herdsmen are not finding enough land to use; fishermen are facing similar challenge.

“We need more investment in order to help farmers to produce more yield per hectare, as well as we need more investment to help herdsmen to produce more yield per cow,” the governor said.

Emotions can’t help us—Dambazzau

On his part, the Minister of Interior, Abdulraman Dambazzau,  said a lot of emotions had been raised as a result of failure of Nigerians to take ownership of the problem.

He called on both government and citizens to see the problem as a national issue and join hands in finding a lasting solution to it.

He said that most Nigerians have continued to see the problem as a crisis with religious and ethnic colouration, which is why the conflict had ceased to abate.

We must shift from grazing to ranching—CAN

The President of Christian Association of Nigeria, Sampson Ayokunle, said in his reaction: “To CAN, we are one of the organisations that advocate a shift from the past to  the current realities facing us. I want to believe that those pastoral means of grazing cattle were good for the time it was initiated but because of the current situation we are facing now, I think we need to shift a bit from the old norms and do it in a modern way.

“If the manner by which cattle are being grazed is okay without rancour, there will be no need for us to gather here today and discuss this issue.   That is why CAN has come up with ranching as solution to the crisis. We understand that it is difficult to adapt to new way of doing things but we cannot shy away from it.”

We’re not opposed to ranching—Miyetti Allah

The Secretary of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, MACBAN, Usman Ngelzerma, said the association was not opposed to ranching but advised that in the interim, the Federal Government should develop grazing reserves before arriving at ranching.

“The herders/farmers crisis will be solved if the outcomes of the meeting will be implemented,” he said.

You know the problem we have is the implementation of certain decision. We have had series of similar meetings in the past and decisions were not implemented. We have talked enough, let’s begin to act.

“All the challenges have been identified and the solution. Let’s begin to develop the grazing reserves and identify the rules in the interim before we arrive at ranching.

“Ranching is an inevitable initiative that must be reached because of the growing population but in the interim, let’s develop the grazing reserves we have because ranching requires land.”

 

“The government should also make it a policy for grazing to go with ranching, which remains the lasting solution because it takes money. Also government should begin to educate herdsmen about the new order and with time, everybody will enjoy it.”

Government lacks political will Cardinal Onayekan

The Bishop of Abuja Catholic Arch. Diocese, Cardinal Onaiyekan, who was represented by Rev. Fr.   Christopher Bologo, said what was lacking was the political will by government to tackle the crisis once and for all, insisting that the N10 billion donation by federal government to rehabilitate the affected communities would never be solution to the problem.

“The crisis in our hand does not require all these big grammar to be settled.  What the farmers need is to have peace and farm without attacks.  The N10billion donation by federal government to rehabilitate the victims is not what they are looking for, they want to go back to their small huts and live in peace and harvest their farm proceeds.

‘’What the farmers need is for security to be provided in their villages so they can go back to their villages and farm.

I believe that government can tackle this menace if there is political will. It has been going on for many years. If we do not resolve it now, what is happening now will be a child’s play. The onus is on us to address this problem.’’

Adopt IPOB solution – Anglican Bishop of Gwagwalada Diocese

The Anglican Bishop of Gwagwalada Diocese, Rt. Revd. Moses Tabwaye, also joined in calling on federal government to take proactive measures to end the incessant killings in the country, urging the government to adopt same measured meted at the Indigenous People of Biafra,   IPOB.

“Killer herdsmen should be declared terrorist. If the IPOB which did not kill anybody but were demanding for independent and the matter came to an end, why can’t we adopt that solution to solve the problem once and for all?

“My submission is that President should be bold enough to declare this group a terrorist. Since they are not Fulani cattle herdsmen but are going around committing homicide, terrorists” treatment should be given to them.”

 

 


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