The Oasis Reporters
July 10, 2019
” DO NOT BRING COWS AGAIN TO THE SOUTHEAST ON FOOT ”
I call the above decision of Governors from the Southeast of this troubled and beleaguered country, ‘’The mother if all panaceas ‘ to the highly inflammable Fulani herders versus Farmers standoff. It is the smartest and most ingenious solution yet to, this intractable problem.
At the core of the Herders/Farmers feud is the nomadic culture of the former along with their herds in search of pasture but in the course of the passage, the herders pass through many communities who are essentially farmers. In the course of grazing these herds, they sometimes either accidentally or deliberately damage crops cultivated for the sustenance of the farming communities. This is the point of departure.
The herders do not only destroy the crops the farming communities live on, they do so with utmost impunity. The herders have extended the frontiers if this conflict by bringing in offensive military styled weapons which they carry in the open without licenses. They usually deploy these weapons against the victim communities along their line of passage.
Reports after reports have been made to the authorities but deaf ears have been paid to such reports and this has served to embolden the herders to the extent they go far south to the littoral States to challenge the communities over their lands. Surely, this amounts to playing with fire and if the herders and or their supporters in the current government do not know this obvious truth, they are making a grave mistake.
On a personal note, I blame not the Herdsmen but the government for lacking in foresight to have thought out the consequences of looking the other way as the herdsmen were rampaging through communities as they pass with the cattle. The Ruga settlements which the government and the Fulani apologists came up with is what infuriated mostly the farming people of this country. The people at the receiving end of the new Fulani adventurism unanimously resolved they will resists the imposition of herders in their communities.
The most workable panacea to the herdsmen/farmers crises as advanced by the governors of the Southeast States is therefore in my thinking, the best solution yet. If the herders are relieved of the burden of having to drive their cattle over long distances and through farming communities, the benefits will be less conflict, healthier Fulani herders as well as healthier cows.
When we have a more sedentary Fulani, we shall be certain of a more peaceful Nigeria. The idea of retaining the age long culture of moving about with cattle and causing all the trouble wherever they go should be discouraged. It is sad and regrettable that nearly all genuine discourses are hijacked by religious bigots who end up twisting same to suit their narrative. If this country is to move forward, the religious bigots must be sidelined.
The position of the Southeast governors simply is to move the cows either by rail or by road to where they may find the pasture they need without them carrying offensive weapons and intimidating host communities.
Written by Col. Gora Dauda (rtd)
He writes from Kaduna, North West Nigeria .