The Bauchi state chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Alhaji Sadique Ibrahim Ahmed, has explained that bringing back cattle grazing routes is the only way of resolving clashes between herders and farmers each farming season.
Ahmed, who is also the chairman of the Coalition of Fulani Associations, said this when he interacted with newsmen in Bauchi.
He said, “A nomadic Fulani man is always in the bush. He would leave where he stayed during the dry season to where he used to stay during the rainy season with his cattle, but today, roads and buildings have taken over the cattle routes that were in place since the colonial era, which herders used to follow. Even grazing reserves for their cattle were allocated to some people, who used the opportunity to take more than what was allocated to them, leaving herders with no road except farms.’’
He said if the government could bring back the cattle grazing routes that were in place during the First Republic, mainly in northern Nigeria, it would definitely address the problem.
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Ahmed said there were cattle routes and grazing grounds and herders were confined to those areas. He explained that those who went outside those areas were arrested and farmers were asked to make their claims. And if they didn’t have the money, their cattle were sold and farmers were compensated.
“We have appealed to state governors and the federal government to go back to that and make sure they prepare those grazing areas.
“Give herders the care they deserve by providing them with a good environment to rear their animals and it will address the crisis.
“What is happening to herders today in Nigeria is worrisome. Many of them are being chased from places where their forefathers lived for more than 100 years. Today, a Fulani man is being chased away from a legitimate land he bought with his money. It is not fair,” he said.
He further said the way some government officials and security personnel extort herders was not acceptable, and urged government to fish out bad elements among them and punish them according to the law.
Daily Trust on Sunday reports that on a yearly basis, many people are killed across Nigeria in crises between herders and farming communities.