The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) have said that the decision by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) to end open grazing, including night and underage herding won’t lead to permanent peace. ACF said the resolutions may have doused tension but would not provide lasting peace.
In a telephone conversation yesterday in Kaduna, spokesman of the forum, Mr. Emmanuel Yawe, said now that nerves are calmed, efforts should be made towards finding a permanent solution to herders/clashes.
According to him, “The decisions taken between the governors and MACBAN will bring an immediate cease-fire and bring down tension” especially “all these hot exchange of words which does not help matters.
“Beyond calming nerves, we should look for more permanent solutions to the problems of herders and sedentary farmers fighting each other. There should be a search for more permanent solutions.”
Recalling that pastoralists and farmers used to live in peace, Yawe noted that desert encroachment has denied pastoralists grazing ground, while sedentary farmers also have less land to farm.
“It is the struggle for farmland and grazing that has led to most of these clashes,” he said, adding: “The criminal aspect of it is that people come into Nigeria without proper identification.” He added that unemployment also contributed to the problem.
According to him, “All these are the fundamental issues. We should find the solution to these things and not the sentimental issues of religion and ethnic group.
“Nobody will leave his place in Sokoto to go and fight a war in Yorubaland. What does he stand to gain?”
He said the problem is about a search for survival, stressing that in this search for survival, some people adapt to legal means, while some people take to illegal means.
PANDEF has also disclosed that the decision of the herders and the governors will not bring permanent peace.
Its spokesman, Hon. Ken Robinson, in a reaction, said it amounted to little more than window dressing as the vicious and barbaric actions of those criminals strolling under the cover of herdsmen would continue, adding that they had been emboldened by the obvious tolerance of their criminal activities by the federal government and its agents.
He called for tougher actions against the criminals and a complete prohibition of open grazing of cattle.
He said: “For goodness’ sake, cattle rearing is a private business; let those involved establish ranches, instead of taking over lands and terrorising communities. Open grazing of cattle is outmoded and would continue to occasion crisis.
“The irrational and ridiculous assertion reportedly by Miyetti Allah that they own all lands in Nigeria, and that nobody can tell herders to vacate their lands, is not only outrageous but vexatious”
PANDEF, therefore, urged state governors, particularly in the southern regions, not to sacrifice the security and safety of the citizens on the altar of political correctness.
Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees (BoT), Senator Walid Jubrin appealed for dialogue as one of the basic ways to reconcile the crisis.
He also charged security agencies in the country to fish out the miscreants behind the burning of the house belonging to Yoruba activist, Chief Sunday Adeyemo.
According to him, “The Police and the Department of State Services (DSS) should move into action and fish out those behind the burning of this man’s house. These are the main criminals. He said the arsonists have ulterior motives and did not mean well for the crisis.
“These are the people who don’t want the crisis to end. They feed fat on the crisis. Why must they set his house on fire when the governors and everyone are trying to ensure a peaceful resolution of this crisis?
“The police and other agencies should move in and Nigerians should cooperate by giving information that would lead to their arrest,” he said.
He said he was shocked by the sudden spike in the fight between the farmers and herdsmen, and commended the efforts of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) in resolving the misunderstanding between the farmers and the herdsmen.
“The Yoruba, Igbo, Ijaw and Fulani have been living together in the past and, therefore, must live peacefully forever.
“I do not support anyone who says that all lands in Nigeria belong to Fulani. All lands belong to every state. I support all governors trying to solve these problems between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in every state,” Jubrin said.
Meanwhile, the Benue PDP has hailed the governors over their unanimous adoption of the stand of their Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, on anti-open grazing in Nigeria.
The party, through its state publicity Secretary, Mr. Bemgba Iortyom, was reacting to the outcome of the South-west governors’ meeting.
In the statement signed by Iortyom, the party said it is positive on the chances of improvement in security across Nigeria following the declaration by the state governors that open grazing of livestock be banned in the country.
“The party hails the decision as courageous and a vindication of the stand earlier taken by Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, through his enactment and enforcement of the Prohibition of Open Grazing and Ranches Establishment Law (2014).
“Benue PDP affirms once again Governor Ortom’s stand that only a nationwide enforcement of the ban on open grazing will guarantee national security and stimulate economic recovery and growth,” it said.