The treatment of the Fulani herdsmen with kid gloves should end henceforth. These Fulani guys have their abode in the Northern part of the country but prefer to migrate down South with their herds of cattle in search of greener pastures. This would have been all well and go good if not for the fact that these herders are wont to clash with their hosts without any provocation whatsoever. Their hosts, especially the farmers, are the Fulanis frequent victims. The host is expected to keep mum when the Fulani cattle eat the farmers’ crops. If the farmers dare to complain they are promptly killed and the females raped or maimed. I think if the host is not the aggressor the guest should definitely not be.
That the Federal Government is weighing in on the issue on the side of the Fulanis is rather unfortunate. The F.G is proposing a National Grazing Reserve Council which would have the power to take away land from wherever, anytime they want and pay whatever they want as compensation to the land owner. The land when taken shall be assigned to the Fulani herdsmen who shall use the land for grazing purposes. If, as a landowner you object to this, you can go to the court but not before notifying and getting the consent of the AGF before you can sue. If the AGF declines consent to the suit you lose your land forever to the herdsmen. The Chairman of the National Grazing Reserve Council will be appointed by the President.
From the foregoing it can be seen that the aces are stacked against the land owners. The F.G is proposing the appropriation of lands from the Southerners but this time using the instrumentality of the law. This must and can not stand. Even though the proposed Bill has passed the first reading at the National Assembly it will be impracticable even if passed into law.
Cow herding is just one of the different professions we have in Nigeria. We have the fishermen, the spare parts sellers, the farmers, the cloth weavers, etc, etc. why then is the issue of the Fulani herdsmen so important to the government as to deserve presenting a Bill on the issue. They are individuals doing their individual businesses to survive-just like the next guy. The money they make is to their pockets so why the hue and cry?
Countries that are known for exporting meat e.g. Australia, Argentina, and U.S etc. don’t move their cattle from one place to the other. They don’t take their cattle to the food but rather the food to the cattle. Water, hay, fodder, etc, are taken to the cattle in the pens and pastures. Science and technology has overtaken the need for cattle pastoralism. The F.G should introduce global best practice in cattle management to these Fulani herdsmen and spare us the constant headaches the activities of these herdsmen cause the nation. The government should tread cautiously on this issue so as not to create a monster they can’t control. A word is enough for the wise.