Disturbed by the lingering Fulani herdsmen crisis across the country, Kulen Allah Cattle Rearers Association of Nigeria, Yobe State chapter, has urged the state and federal governments to intervene in resolving and ending the reasons responsible for the perennial conflict between the two groups that has led to loss of innocent lives and properties.
The Association made the plea during a peace conference and inauguration of the Yobe State chapter of the Association held at the Cul in Damaturu, the state capital.
The meeting attracted participants across the North East geopolitical zone that includes Adamawa, Borno and Taraba respectively.
The Association noted that the problem of conflict between cattle breeders and farmers mostly hinges on encroachment on areas of land reserved for grazing by farmers and consequent encroachment on farms by breeders, pointing out that until this known issues are resolved, no measure would be able to stop the ugly situation in the country.
Speaking during the occasion, the National President of the Association, Hon. Khalli Mohammed Bello, stated: “Restore most of the original grazing lands that were mapped out and gazetted in different parts of the country, especially in the North, thus forcing the breeders to encroach on farm lands.
“It must be pointed out that the original grazing routes and grazing areas in various states of the North have been encroached upon by people, this is one of the reasons why herdsmen are destroying peoples’ farms in search of food for their animals,” said the National President.
“We are determined to ensure peace and unity between herdsmen and farmers. Our main focus is to change the unhealthy relationship existing between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, thus bringing to an end the culture of bloody violence.”
He pointed out that this ugly trend started a long time ago without the intervention of the authorities, both at the state and federal government levels.
“This state of affairs started some decades ago and the state and federal governments failed to take necessary actions to stop the takeover of the grazing routes and reserves which were adequately provided even during the colonial days,” said Khalli.
He therefore appealed to the state and federal governments and authorities in the North and Southern parts of the country to take the necessary measure to recover the grazing reserves and identify cattle routes from those who have encroached into them, and thereafter rehabilitate them for the use of the herdsmen as this is one way of reducing the current challenges of shortage of grazing grounds for cattle.
He used the forum to commend Yobe state Governor Ibrahim Gaidam for the efforts he has made in assisting and improving the lives and standard of life for the cattle breeders in the state through the provision of earth dams, cement wells and water troughs for herdsmen in various parts of the state.
The Governor, according to him, has also encouraged and provided for the vaccination of livestock in the state in addition to the rehabilitation of many grazing areas and cattle routes, the provision of 18 species of grass for planting in various parts of the state when the rainy season comes.
He appealed to the state and federal governments to join hands to rehabilitate many of the barren lands that abound in the North, as it is done in other countries in the Middle East, which also faced the same challenges of desertification and drought but succeeded in turning those lands into evergreen grazing fields with economic benefits for those countries.
Yobe State, he said, could be used as an exemplary state to start those initiatives in reviving the large existing barren lands into evergreen grazing areas through a joint state and federal government venture, pointing out that Yobe State has over 200 kilometres of barren lands that could be converted into modernized grazing land.
The Fulani Leader said “Yobe state has 30 grazing reserves, which are gazetted, with landmass area of 1,291.5 square kilometres or 129.15 hectares, which, if made safe from farmers encroachment and modernized, would adequately contain most of the Nigerian livestock.
“If the is a will, there will be a way out of the present shortage of grazing fields in the North, thus the urgent need to rehabilitate and develop portions of land within the state, which may be referred to as barren land, both in Yobe state and other states in the North,” said Khalil.