Herdsmen Attacks: Northern govs agree on ranching

By Myke Uzendu 

After years of speaking in discordant tunes on the need to adopt modern methods of cattle rearing rather than the volatile pastoral method, northern governors appear finally to be accepting ranching.

The position of the governors came as one of them, Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state, blamed lack of cooperation on the part of some northern governors for the festering insecurity, and subtly threats against suspected Fulanimen that are accused of taking up arms and are needlessly killing.

He spoke in an interview with Hausa Service of the BBC,  saying: “Honestly, to be candid, there is no cooperation among north western governors. For us in Kaduna state, we are synergising with Niger state. We do everything together.

“Every time, our Commissioner keeps in touch with Niger State Government. The Niger State Governor calls me. From time-to-time we compare notes and do lot of things together.

“But other states don’t cooperate. For some of these states, bandits should be accommodated and forgiven, and that will make them stop, but we disagree with that idea.

“For instance, the Zamfara state governor believes if we accommodate and forgive the bandits, it will make them stop their criminal activities.

“So, you see, there is a big difference on the approach we the governors take in dealing with these criminals.

“The Fulani man that use to see  N100,000 only in a year after selling a cow, but is now getting  N1 million will never stop terrorising people.

“Sheik Ahmed Gumi is my friend, I spoke with him, I told him that most of these Fulani people have no religion. We agreed on that. But he is talking about forgiving the bandits. We will not forgive them. We did not offend them”.

On the other had, at the end of a virtual meeting, the Northern Governors Forum (NGF) on Monday stated that the current system of herding conducted mainly through open grazing is no longer sustainable in view of growing urbanization, economic indices and population of the country. They resolved to aggressively sensitise herdsmen on the need to adapt new methods of herding, by ranching, or other acceptable modern methods.

The communique from the meeting of the NGF reads:

The Northern States Governors Forum held an emergency virtual meeting on Monday 8th February 2021 to discuss issues affecting the region and the nation in general. The meeting was presided over by its Chairman and Governor of Plateau State Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong. The meeting resolved as follows:

• That some of its Committee reports are at various stages of completion and resolved that all such reports should be turned in before the next meeting scheduled for the end of February in Kaduna where the reports will be deliberated upon.
• On security of the region and the nation, the Forum noted with concern the growing wave of insecurity in the country particularly as it relates to circulation of unverified video clips on social media portraying violent attacks on persons in some parts of the country.

Therefore, Forum:

▪︎Called on political leaders to segregate between criminality and social groups in their domains with a view to treating criminals as criminals. The Forum reiterates that it condemns every form of criminality whether from herders, hunters, or farmers occupying forest reserves illegally.

▪︎Noted with concern the tension generated by the eviction order issued to herdsmen in some parts of the country.

▪︎Expressed concern that this is heating the already fragile security atmosphere with threats of reprisals which the Northern Governors are working assiduously to contain.

▪︎Stresses the urgent need for the Nigerian Governors Forum to meet and discuss the issue wholistically with a view to resolving all areas of misunderstanding and conflicts arising from these threats and suspicion for the sake of national unity.

▪︎Notes with concern that the current system of herding conducted mainly through open grazing is no longer sustainable in view of growing urbanization and population of the country. Consequently, Forum resolved to aggressively sensitise herdsmen on the need to adapt new methods of herding by ranching or other acceptable modern methods.

▪︎Appeals to the Federal Government to support States with grants to directly undertake pilot projects of modern livestock production that will serve as springboard and evidence for breaking resistance to the full implementation of new methods of livestock production.

▪︎Resolved to engage elders and youths in a robust discussion with a view to dousing the tensed security environment in the north. Accordingly, a four-man Committee was put in place to be headed by the Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum.

▪︎Called for restraint from leaders including those in the Southern parts of the country where passions are high. Similarly, they called on all the citizens of the north to continue to live in peace with all Nigerians irrespective of their origins and backgrounds.

• Forum congratulated the new Service Chiefs over their recent appointments and resolved to collaborate with them in enhancing the security of the region and the nation at large.

• On its quest to acquire COVID-19 testing mobile vehicles, the Governors received briefing on the procurement of the vehicles which was still ongoing with the first batch about to be received. Accordingly, the Forum resolved to revalidate all requests made by member States in 2020.

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