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Banditry: Many Herders are victims but people see them as culprits – MACBAN

The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) say over 15,000 pastoralists lost their lives to farmer/herder crises, banditry, kidnapping and other forms of…

The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) say over 15,000 pastoralists lost their lives to farmer/herder crises, banditry, kidnapping and other forms of insecurity in the last 10 years.

The National President of the association, Baba Othman Ngalzarma, who stated this, said over 4 million cattle belonging to the pastoralists were also lost within.

Ngalzarma stated this at the Emergency National Executive Council Meeting held in Paiko, headquarters of Paikoro LGA of Niger State, at the weekend.

He said pastoralists were at the receiving of the security crisis in the country but people see them as culprits.

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“A lot of Nigerians were being deceived to see an average pastoralist as a criminal. The pastoralists are the victims because they are at the receiving end of all these crises including kidnapping, cattle rustling, farmer/herder conflicts and banditry. Whenever you hear of banditry, you will also hear of cattle being rustled by bandits. The pastoralists who are referred as Fulanis are the 95 percent of owners of cows in the country.

“So, we are at the receiving end of all these crises. We are more of the victims than most of public are seeing the pastoralists as culprits. Though there are criminals among pastoralists which we know and we must always confess to that fact the way there criminals in every society of Nigeria today but this does not mean that the entire Fulani are criminals,” he said.

While appreciating the military and other security agencies in the fight against insurgency, banditry and other criminalities across the country, the MACBAN leader urged them to always observe the rules of engagement in the discharge of their duties.

“The rate at which military operation unit and the vigilantes in some states are looting and killing cows without just cause is becoming alarming.” he said.

He said MACBAN was always ready to fish out the bad eggs among the pastoralists, adding that the association was sensitizing its members on the dangers in the use of illicit drugs and proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

He lamented that one year after the incident of military drone attack on pastoralists in Nasarawa State, federal government was yet to compensate the victims and their families, calling on the authorities concerned to come to the aid of the families to feel belonging as citizens of the country.

He said pastoralists were also concerned with the security challenges facing the country, calling on all hands to be on deck to address the challenge.

The MACBAN President said all pastoralists associations across the country have resolved to converge on Abuja in the coming weeks to discuss the security challenges from their own perspectives and to come up with ways they can complement the effort of the government by coming up with mechanisms to check the youth restiveness among pastoralists, check the proliferation of small arms and light weapons among pastoralists and to check the use of illicit drugs among pastoral youths.

He said MACBAN under his leadership had resolved to pay more attention to the education of pastoralists, lamenting that the grazing reserves in the country have been left without maintenance while dams have been allowed to be silted, forcing pastoralists to move far into the hinterlands to feed their cattle.

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