The Oasis Reporters

News on time, everytime


Feeding Lots, Education: Atiku’s Forward Looking Plans For Fulani Herdsmen

The Oasis Reporters

February 21, 2019

By Greg Abolo

The two frontline candidates for the presidential election on February 23, 2019 in Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar happen to come from the Fulani ethnic group, like the previous Nigerian presidents of northern extraction, Presidents Shehu Shagari and Umaru Yar’adua.

Alh. Atiku Abubakar (left), Peter Obi his presidential running mate.

The sticking point with the rest of Nigeria, is the Fulani ethnic group’s occupation of cattle herding which has led to internecine crises leading to deaths, over the years on both sides, and the attitude of each president towards the lingering clashes against the backdrop of climate change, access to water and desertification in the North.

Osinbajo (left), Buhari.

President Muhammadu Buhari,who is the All Progressive Congress, APC, prefers land annexation from the indigenous peoples of Nigeria to give to his Fulani tribesmen, most of them, new migratory immigrants from West African countries like Mali, Senegal, Guinea, The Gambia, etc, as cattle colonies, which alarms other people, because of the violence associated with the Fulani. With several hundreds already dead in the Middle Belt, the people find this proposal a project to resist, even when their villages are depopulated and occupied by herdsmen militia who wield automatic weapons.

In contrast to the Buhari approach, Atiku Abubakar, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP has proposed a middle of the road approach that majority of non Fulanis find reassuring and less threatening to their lives, driving large swatches of the Middle belt to swing their support to the PDP candidate.
Atiku Abubakar, in a quiet mien proposes the establishment of “Feeding Lots” where the Fulani herdsmen would hold their cattle in one place, get feed to them from feed mills, and abandon the policy of roaming all over and trampling on farmers crops, which has led to deadly clashes all over Nigeria.

Atiku Abubakar says keeping the cattle in Feeding Lots saves the animals energy, fattens them and enables them produce more milk. This is an economically better option. But to achieve this, the Fulani would require more enlightenment that would propel them to abandon the centuries old habit of nomadism. In addition, what the constitution says will be put into operation.

But obviously, Atiku Abubakar does not seem to support nomadism in the present form that it is, according to what he said during the interview with Kadaria Ahmed, on ‘The Candidates’ television program.

The hardest hit areas in the Middle belt,incidentally, joined in swinging the votes to Muhammadu Buhari, against Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 on the mantra of change. Today, the traumatized Middle Belt people have decided to cast their votes this time, based on their own experiences.

Nigeria has over 30 million herds of cattle with over 20,000 workers in the sector  and the Fulani have often wondered where the rest of Nigeria expects to keep them to keep their livestock. It is noteworthy that there are hardly any modern dairy products like condensed milk, powdered milk and other dairy derivatives

On the other hand, the Netherlands is a leading dairy producing nation, worldwide. That is where the popular Peak milk brand and other dairy products consumed in Nigeria and many other countries around the world emanate from. The country has a population of just  3. 86 million heads of  cattle  and engaged only about 261,480 full-time and part time agricultural sector workers , both in animal husbandry and crop agriculture in 2005  .

The agricultural labor force is just 4% of the population. The Netherlands supplies much of the world with milk, cheese and other animal based products yet has no history of farmers /herdsmen internecine conflicts. Milk production in 2005 totaled 10.5 million tons.

With the Fulani heads of cattle, there are  no records kept of total milk yield in tons per annum, but certainly no one has ever heard or seen tinned milk from the breed.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *