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Sept 2019

 

Farmers-Herders crises


We have three types of herdsmen: those rearing their cattle around their houses who do not pose a problem because they don’t move around. We also have herders who are Nigerians from the northern part of the country, but will move across to the Middle-Belt and the southern part of the country during dry season in search of water and grasses for their cattle; they come back to their base in the North after a while. Then, going by ECOWAS protocol, we also have herdsmen who travel from neighbouring countries of Niger republic, Chad and Cameroon to the northern part of the country, from where they then move to the South in search of grazing land for their cattle. The last two is where the issue lies.

 

And it has been argued that what we have between farmers and the herdsmen is trespass and reverse aggression not conflict. Trespass against the farmers by herdsmen lead to mutual hostility and reverse violent attacks, escalation of which, due to open grazing, construction of new houses etc., over the years have now become crises. Looking at it critically, the conflict between these two groups is primarily about: resource use, damage to crops, blocking of trans-human corridors (Burtali), farming along the valleys and stream/river banks and uncomplimentary agricultural policies by government. Of recent however, cattle rustling, availability of dangerous weapons, intra-pastoralist conflicts, mercenary elements and illicit drugs have added a dangerous dimension to the conflict. Thus, since the 1980s, the frequency of violent clashes has increased, and lately, the widespread availability of modern weapons and improved communications has further led to the exacerbating of the conflicts. In the past, the hostilities were resolved legally by community leaders but now there is the need for a lasting solution. To proffer the solution, we will use the term “conflict” to refer to farmers-herders crises, communal and other conflicts in this Report for clarity. We need to look closely at the interface between traditional conflict management approaches and critical social theory, which views violent conflict (farmers-herders crises, communal violence) as a social product and looks to structuration’s theory, with its recognition of the mutual dependency and structure, to bridge the gap between the individualist and structuralise approaches. The danger of failing to incorporate a critical-theoretical approach is that attempts at conflict management or resolution will simply reinforce the unchallenged order that generated the conflict in the first place (including exclusion and domination). The result is that we continually re-solve conflicts instead of developing a solution that will not reappear again or re-solutions that did not work the first time. These criticisms have been applied to the international community’s Peace Building efforts, as well as to international aid and development work. The perspective here further emphasizes the need for a practical solution based upon hidden cultural specifics that are not universal, which are longer-term and deeper in structural, relational and cultural dimensions like the idea of “Ruga” or Ranch and Colony. One point to note is that while some would like to tag the entire Fulani race as evil, this is not fair, there is good and bad in any tribe. There are more than 36 million Fulani people in Nigeria who are decent and go about doing their business peacefully. It will be hypocritical to continue to say no to all solution and expect to have one.

 

Similarly in other conflicts like communal or religious, the scenario, as Prof. Babajo posits, the problems are as dynamic as their solutions and most consistent nature of man is change. “Let us be devout and devoted to identifying our weaknesses and thinking about solutions”

The scenario is a dynamic process in which structures, attitudes and behaviours are constantly changing and influencing one another. A conflict emerges as parties’ interests come into conflict or the relationship they are in becomes oppressive. Conflict parties then begin to develop hostile attitudes and conflictual behaviour. The conflict formation starts to grow and develop. As it does so, the conflict may widen (drawing in other parties), deepen (becoming more protracted and possibly violent), and spread (generating secondary conflicts within the main parties or among outsiders). This complicates the task of addressing the original, core conflict. Eventually, resolving the conflict must involve a set of dynamic, interdependent changes that involve de-escalation of conflict behaviour, change in attitudes, and transformation of relationships or structures.

In a study carried out by researchers where they examined the factors contributing to the Farmers-Herders conflict in Sabuwa , Dansadau and Birnin Gwari, they tried to:

1.      Examine how the drying up of the natural sources of water over the past 50 years in the Sahelian belt,  has forced pastoralists to move into the savannah and tropical rain forest zones in search of water and pasture for their animals;

2.       Ascertain the extent to which the failure of policy implementation with regards to grazing reserves has created a dearth of land for pasture and grazing;

3.      Highlight how the inaction or indifference by governments at all levels has resulted in both sedentary farmers and pastoralists in the affected communities resorting to vigilantism and violence in the communities.

 

a.      The result in Sabuwa

The result in Sabuwa shows that, until about ten years ago, intra-community relations in Sabuwa were generally peaceful. This is, however, not to suggest the absence of conflict. There were the occasional clashes between farmers and local herders over cattle intrusions into farmlands and the conversion of cattle paths (burtali/labi) and grazing reserves into farms. Although such clashes occasionally degenerated into serious violence, they were not too worrisome to local community leaders because there were control mechanisms that regulated both their extent and intensity. Usually, Fulani offenders were fined for grazing in farm lands while the farmers were levied for farming on cattle routes or encroaching on grazing reserves. Change came with the coming from neighbouring Niger Republic of certain strange Fulani groups popularly called ‘Bokolo’, named after their short-horned cattle variety. These groups of Fulani were armed and very confrontational. They would deliberately invade farms and let their cattle feed on harvested crops left on the farms to dry up before final processing, packaging and storing. And, the ‘Bukolo’ did not respect the local rule of paying for the damages done by their cattle. Instead, they would start fighting and even occasionally kill some farmers before running off. Although the bandits regularly engage in cattle rustling and kidnapping, armed robbery is their first choice activity. They do this regularly, aggressively and openly. They could block the road at any time of the day and start robbing passers-by. But they mostly operate very close to their base, especially around villages like Maraban Maigora, Machikan Dutse, Dan Kolo, Madachi and Dungun Mu’azu. The most dangerous dimension to their activity, however, is that any time they are attacked by the security forces, they retaliate on local inhabitants on the pretext that it is the locals that give information on their locations. On such occasions, the bandits would invade villages and kill without discrimination. A case in point was the killing of 66 people at Maraban Mai Gora village in 2013, when heavily armed bandits on motor bikes attacked the village around 2pm and shot indiscriminately. The bandits were said to have come from Layin Galadima and Maigora villages in Faskari Local Government Area, where they had earlier killed in dozens.

b.      The results from Dansadau

While the results from Dansadau show that right of access to land and its resources including water, grazing land and right of way have always been sources of tension between farmers and herders, which occasionally erupts into conflicts over the centuries. However, both groups seem to be accustomed to this type of conflicts and accept them "as familiar" - an saba da su. There are also, traditional mechanisms for the resolution of such conflicts as both groups admitted during a field work. These traditional mechanisms notwithstanding, it is clear that competition over access to land, water and forest resources among farmers and herders is one of the remote causes of the conflict in the area. Another remote cause is the neglect of transport and communication infrastructure in potential conflict areas. This neglect affected law enforcement. Insecurity of life and property therefore became prevalent. Another remote cause of the conflict is the alleged prolonged injustice - "zalunci" which the herders claim they are subjected to by corrupt police officers, corrupt village heads and corrupt judges. The research team gathered that the police, judges district and village heads prefer dealing with cases involving the Fulanis.  In instances where herders became involved in litigations on account of their cattle trespassing on farms and destroying crops, they were made to pay heavy fines, often disproportional to the damage caused.  

Over the years, the children of the dispossessed herders became available for hire as professional cattle herders for the rich Hausas, who have over time accumulated large herds of cattle often bought from hard pressed Fulanis. This amounted to role reversal. Some of the young members of the Fulani communities became petit thieves or big time armed robbers. The emergence of the nouveaux riches, especially those with bureaucratic capital is yet another. This group, being in control, directly or indirectly of the state, used its vantage position to get the state to open the large swaths of thick forest, including grazing lands and gazetted forest reserves, which had been settled by the herders, since the 15th century and allocated it, largely to themselves. When such encroachment happens, confrontation with herders who feel they are being squeezed out of their ancestral homes becomes inevitable. Heavy penalties are usually imposed on the herders. These heavy fines could be explained by the fact that the farms encroached upon are in any case owned by those who control state power. On the Immediate causes, around 2011 petit theft and armed robbery became rampant in the Dansadau area. Flagrant extortion of local wealthy people and notables, raping of married women and the kidnapping of girls by armed bandits also became rampant. It was alleged that the bandits were Fulani due largely to the loss of their way of lives and means of livelihood. The perceived failure of the local and state authorities to arrest the situation, led members of the communities in the area to resort to self-help in law enforcement leading to the emergence of vigilantes groups.  The existing recognized vigilantes groups became very active. Later, another self - appointed group of volunteers emerged but not registered by the state, known as “Yan Sa Kai”. These two groups virtually took over the duties of law enforcement agencies and constituted themselves into prosecutors and judges, imposing death sentences on known or suspected criminals and executing them. Although the conflict can be traced as far back as 1996, it became raging since 2010; and around June 2012 a total number of 130 people were reported to have been gunned down by the bandits thought to be Fulanis and in response to that, local vigilante “Yar Galadima” organised themselves into revenged seeking groups specifically targeting Fulani settlements, thus unleashing further reprisal attacks.

c.       The results from Birnin Gwari

The current situation in Birnin Gwari started some seventeen years ago. The year 1998 was accepted as the year when communities of Birnin Gwari recorded growing armed attacks on the main Highway from Kaduna to the South-West. From the general views in the community, it is certainly not a conflict between farmers and Fulani herders, but rather that of the people of Birnin Gwari (farmers, herders and so), and marauders (Fulani, Hausa speakers and some others). Birnin Gwari settlement is a community of farmers, herders, traders and miners. Predominantly however, the Fulanis are known to be pastoralists or herders while the Hausas and Gwagyis are mostly farmers. At the beginning relations between the farmers and herders were cordial and symbiotic. The farmers who made up the settled population retain ownership of the land. Voluntarily farmers used to invite Fulanis to settle in their farms during the dry season to manure the land, either for a price or by an agreed formula, for example allowing them feed from the remains of the cornstalk from the previous farming season (Cin Kara). Over time the herders started to move in with their whole family and property, consequent to continued encroachment on the farm and forest lands, due to increase in population and of absentee farmers. Though more lands were put into farming, which is supposed to give the herders more advantage, but the introduction of the use of modern fertilizer rendered the desire for the services of the Fulanis to nothing. It was at this period that farmer- herders relations started to sour; the reciprocal value of each started to diminish leading to disagreements, conflict, court cases, and punishments.

 

It is obvious therefore that the remote causes of the sour relationship cannot be far away from the neglect of the condition of the herders by the authority. In addition, the forest area was taken over by the Federal Government and made a National Park with clear rules and regulations of operating within its premises. The Federal Government’s inability to manage the National Park properly, to attract tourist and tourism turned the forest into hideout for criminals. It is relevant to note that Birnin Gwari is the route through which the northern and southern parts of Nigeria are linked. The Federal Government’s neglect of the proper management of the Park therefore created a lacuna, creating conditions conducive for criminals to hide and commit all forms of criminality. The herders were the first victims, because the deteriorating condition of the Birnin Gwari express way reduced the number of vehicles plying the route. Armed robbers who used to rob vehicles coming from the South turned their attention into cattle rustling. Reports from the various villages around Birnin Gwari, which are available in the Birnin Gwari emirate council documents, provided adequate information on the extent to which the Fulanis suffered loss of herds of cattle. Thus, it is the view here that one of the immediate causes of the conflict was the loss of the only means of livelihood of the Fulani herders, which exposed the younger ones to idleness, thus leading them to join the gangs of the marauders, armed robbers and kidnappers. How and from where they get the sophisticated weapons and training is still unclear from the study, it is however confirmed that operations (attacks) by the assailants were carried using sophisticated weapons.

 

The women folk are the major casualty of the attacks in Birnin Gwari; they are raped, killed or widowed. The most disturbing humiliation was when they suffered sexual assault before their children and husbands, under threat of armed gunmen, and in the open.  From 2012, when banditry became a defined life style of some people in Birnin Gwari more than 450 people were killed in Kazage District alone. According to Sarkin Rafi, more than fifty (50) people lost their lives while pursuing the bandits.

 

The conflict in Birnin Gwari is no longer farmers-herders nor Fulani/Hausa, arguably therefore, it must be considered within the context of the geography and socioeconomic condition of the communities concerned. Considering the historicity of the spread and the nature of the present attacks, it will make more sense if the regional (West Africa) disturbances are given special attention. In the past the nature of the relations between the people and communities were not as violent as in the present, nor were sophisticated weapons used as in the present. Of interesting to also note is the expertise in the handling of AK47 by the bandits. The state of political developments in the region, especially the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya, created the mass movement of arms across borders. The porous nature of Nigerian borders, especially the Nigeria/Niger borders, in addition to the cultural link between the communities across the border, support the claim that the influx could be from that direction. This is further supported by the long history of pastoral movement in the region in search of pasture caused by the increasing deterioration of the environment.

 

d.      Southern part of Kaduna

Similarly, in the Southern part of Kaduna, the crises is as a result of encroachment by the herders over cattle intrusions into farmlands, which has now degenerated into serious violence with reprisal attacks. No doubt, there are common features and similarities in the conflict between farmers-herders crises in the three areas of Dansadau, Sabuwa and Birnin Gwari and that of the Southern part of Kaduna. For example, competition over access to land resources is common, trespass against the farmers by herdsmen, insecurity and failure of law enforcement to act quickly and injustice. The nature and pattern of the conflicts involve trespassing, armed banditry, cattle rustling, and kidnappings with reprisal attacks and some taking ethnic and religious dimension; and in some, strangers from neighbouring countries were noted to be involved. This made economic activities, such as commerce and trade, farming movement, simple commuting and travelling to be negatively affected as a result of these protracted conflicts.

In the past, all over the north, intra-community relations were generally peaceful but today the conflict has taken multi-faceted dimensions which include armed robbery, kidnapping, rape and other criminal abuses, with so many reprisal attacks along ethnic and religious lines. Therefore, since it is more complicated than simply an issue of dealing with Farmers-Herders relations, central to the problem is to find a lasting solution to the problem, which the Federal Government has proposed: to convert parts or whole of forest reserves into farms or settlements referred to as: “Ruga” or Ranch and Colony. Violence and the insecurity have had devastating effect on many communities in the north and some part of the south. Hundreds of lives have been lost. Thousands of people have been displaced. It is estimated that between 40% of productive capacity of peasants were lost all across the north while thousands of cattle and other livestock have been rustled.

 

“Ruga” or Ranch and Colony

A ranch or Ruga in Hausa language, simply put is a space of land dedicated for raising grazing livestock suck as cows, goats, and sheep including horses and donkeys for commercial purposes. It is usually large with accompanied structures to service the value chain of the ranch. In short, it is the restriction of nomadic lifestyle as we know it, the modern way of doing cattle business, not a Nigeria idea, but what is practiced in advanced countries today. Obudu cattle ranch is Ruga, late Sardauna of Sokoto and late Chief Obafemi Awolowo set ranches in Mokwa and Akuno respectively. Late Nnamdi Azikiwe also once had a ranch. A colony is a set of ranches that share many amenities, wherever there is a large concentration of animals, we call them colony. So therefore, colony is not colonization.

The advantages of a ranch:

·    Ranching of livestock can create 250,000 jobs within the right size and allow agriculture to thrive, reducing also communicable diseases, TB, diarrhoea, leptospirosis, leishmaniasis, etc., (Animals properly vaccinated and in shed);

·    Headmen will be required to pay taxes of N1000 naira per cattle head per annum (compared to zero naira now);

·    Massive milk, beef and cheese production will earn us foreign exchange like other milk exporting countries of New Zealand, France, Russia, Germany, Brazil, China, and India with direct annual estimated revenue of about $3 billion US dollars including other incomes from organic fertilizer and 200 MW net power export;

·   Increase IGR for individual States, with safer, healthier meat for consumption;

·    Use of advance technology, cross breeding, new gadgets for milking and opportunity for every Nigerian to join the business to become a herdsman or herdswoman and have a part of the colony;

·    Eradicate farmer-herdsman hostilities because of growing cattle population, effect of climate change and availability of grazing lands, water including access to northern, eastern routes due to Boko Haram (zero grazing, aggression, killings, reduced hazards, increase life expectancy);

·    A ranch would allow the herdsmen to have access to education and opportunity to socialize. including industrialization and economic diversification leading to new chain of businesses like leather industries, shoe industries, furniture making and cow feeds production etc., will all thrive under a ranching system with economic boom and prosperity;

·    The world has moved past open grazing where cattle roam the streets, airport and rural markets, the results: better yield, cleaner environment and engagements of nomads in other economic activities; teaching, tailoring, artisans etc., reduce crime since all herders will have traceable addresses;

·    Ranching will make cow business a worthwhile business for Nigerians and foreign investors thereby increasing exports/foreign exchanges with less dependence on oil. This will be a great boost on the diversification policy of the federal government to agriculture and creation of several employment opportunities.

·    Cows will no more be flying our roads in deplorable uncomfortable travelling conditions to the southern part of Nigeria (reduced animal cruelty).


b.         Why ranching?

Some people have deliberately chosen not to be part of the solution and or proffer any solution but thus argue “why is government interested in procuring land for the herders to rear their cattle? Is cattle business government business? Is it not private business?

Where ignorant is bliss, it is folly to be wise, where hypocrisy is bliss, it is unwise to be silent. The types of questions above are those that are psychologically and emotionally rooted. They include fear, anger, anxiety, jealousy, mistrust, hostility and other negative feelings that often cloud perception and inhibit rational thinking and communication. The government has come up with a proposed solution, asking State Governors to make land available for cattle ranches willingly “if you like, take it if you don’t like, don’t take it but look at the advantage”. Setting aside your false predictions/perception about the outcome, what's the action that will lead to results? Failure is always a possibility. So is success. The real question isn't "Which one do you believe in?" but rather, "Which one are you working on, right now?" Proffer a solution instead of lamenting because there's never just one solution, or one way that a situation will work out. Choice still exists - how we choose to respond to our circumstances is always in our control. What if you could set your feelings aside, and move forward towards new options? Because whether you think you can or you can't is never as important as what you do. Thomas Edison said, "There is a way to do it better - find it." Maybe it's time to stop debating what's in the glass. And take action.  You know under the Constitution, once something is for public use, it overrides every other right. And agriculture is both on the concurrent and on the exclusive list, meaning FG can legislate on agriculture and acquire land for that purpose, just like the oil pipelines located everywhere in the States because section 5 of the Constitution gives all the executive powers on the President. Also, fact is anyone or any group that keeps opposing any effort to solve the so called Farmers-Herders clashes must surely be benefitting materially or politically from the crises. Of course, there are those who always try to trick foreign donors by lying to them that the Farmers-Herders clashes are some agenda of religious persecution by a section of the country or Islamisation Agenda of the nation. Such persons and groups will not want the problem solved, for solving it will deny them two things: loss of a propaganda tool that portrays them as victims of a bloody conspiracy, and loss of opportunities to keep receiving financial grants from foreign donors who aid ''victims of religious discrimination and persecution'' worldwide. So from the Constitutional point of view, government can acquire land for public use but whether ranching is for public or private use, some have argued thus:

·    Is airline business public or private? Why are states and federal governments expending huge public funds in acquiring lands and building new airports and rehabilitating old ones for airplanes that are owned purely by private commercial companies and private individuals;

·    Is transport business public or private? Why should government be busy spending hundreds of billions of naira building roads for vehicles that are mainly on private trips or for transporters? Shouldn't vehicle owners then raise money and build roads for their cars?

·    Is farming business public or private? Why states and federal governments busy procuring and distributing fertilizers and various other farm implements to farmers, sometimes for free and sometimes in heavily subsidized form?

·    Is commercial banking public or private? Government has spent billions bailing out distressed banks since 2005 till date? Why intervene in a private business venture with public funds?

·     Is going on religious pilgrimage (Saudi Arabia & Israel) not private business? Why both states and federal governments often sponsor pilgrims to do something that is purely personal and private to the individuals?

·    Are those private (mostly religious owned) universities not private businesses? They seek TETFUND funds upgrade their levels of competence? Why do they seek government subsidy on something the government had no input in its conception and development?

·    Is shipping public business? Apart from Naval force with military style ships, all other ships are privately owned, but why is government building dockyards or sea ports where commercial ships and boats privately owned, berth to load and off-loaded?

·    What about acquisition of education? Why has it always been the expectation and business of government to build and furnish schools as well as recruit and pay teachers? Is this not a heavy subsidization by government of what should have been the personal obligations of individuals or families? Is it not subsidy to give scholarships and pay lecturers? And spends billions in feeding primary school kids across the country in order to boost school enrolment?

·    Is small scale trading or even big scale trading the responsibility of government or private business? Why then should government give small scale traders little sums like 10,000 naira or more each to help them boost their little trades? Shouldn't they source their own funds?

·    Is buying and selling not private business interaction between a seller and a buyer? Then why are governments at all levels building markets and maintaining them for private individuals who want to buy and sell commodities?

·    Is film making and the entire movie industry, e.g. Nollywood, not private business? Then why did the federal government give them 3 billion naira in 2014 to boost their film making industry? Shouldn't they have been left to source for funds themselves?

·         How about public hospitals? Why should government build hospitals for people who are sick? Isn't sickness and wellbeing a private matter, which requires the sick person or their family to seek medical treatment at their place of choice? 

·    And if government expends huge sums to service the health needs of sick citizens, how about citizens who hardly fall sick and have never ever visited any hospital for any personal health issue; are the rights of such citizens not infringed on, or are they not being financially marginalized? Shouldn't they then demand cash rebates from government, based on their fundamental human rights, for not using hospitals built with funds they have rights to?

·    And finally, of all the things or services listed above, which are being financed by government, which of them are Fulani herdsmen who roam the forests with their cows enjoying?

·    Is it government that gives them the rains that always beat them in the jungles alongside their cattle, or is it government that feeds them in the forests?

·    Yet, some supposedly educated persons, former government officials and even religious leaders are questioning and opposing the development of either cattle ranches or cattle colonies or grazing routes or even settlement camps for the Fulani herdsmen for easy monitoring by the federal government on the ridiculously shameless grounds that it involves government funding? 

·    How long, how strong and how deep the Devil has been controlling certain delusional persons is clearly unfolding, and it's unfortunate.

The Sule Lamido’s Model

As submitted, over 10 years today, there have not been any clashes in Jigawa between farmers and herdsmen both of which are both Hausa/Fulani. Before the Governor affected his model, they engaged perennially in deadly clashes. As highlighted earlier in this paper, the root causes of the problems we have today largely are poverty, ignorance, lawlessness, despair and injustice; and quest for revenge, among others. So Sule Lamido did the following:

·    Tackled lawlessness first by strengthening the courts and enabled them to deliver instant justice, zero tolerance of crime and over 90% aggrieved persons got satisfactory justice instantly, and peace ensured. He ensured that government authority was asserted and he dialogued extensively with stake holders on law and order and State Power and Authority;

·    Talakawa (masses) Summit was organized for days; common folk addressed elected elite and civil servants on problems and expectations if aspirations were to be met. They in turn listened to their representatives and Government officials, which was also widely publicized for appeal and impact;

·    Eggheads of Jigawa origin compiled the proceedings into a document which experts turned into a comprehensive development framework (CDF) for the State.

·    Farmers and Herdsmen were reconciled through effective cross communication. A narrative for cooperation was developed, promoted, and accepted;

·    Government designated five (5) Grazing Reserves and developed them with watering points and grass. Local Technology was used, gaining the participation of common folk. Each Grazing Reserve had access for livestock and was clearly marked;

·    State-wide, cultivation of land was reserved from 20 meters from shoulders of state highways and 30 meters from shoulders of Federal Highways. This was designated as livestock Routes averting the danger of taking  any community's land, simple;

·    Government provided revolving loans that empowered peasant farmers to own a pair of work-cattle, a plough, a harrow, and a wagon. Arguably, tractors were not cost effective due to high diesel and maintenance costs. Overnight, in one season, repayments on the loans were as good as 90% and Jigawa achieved food sufficiency in 3 years. Quality of life was higher than Lagos (EU), with the herders benefitting from the massive purchase of their cattle.

·    The CDF so developed ensured that government developed a network of roads linking villages with major markets enabling the farmer to sell his products directly. Healthcare was based on the Gunduma Framework which gave each commune a health center with major general hospitals in districts and a referral Rashid Shekoni Hospital in the State Capital Dutse. 


The Gandujiyya/Matawalle
Model

Governor Ganduje of Kano State and his counter park, Governor Matawalle of Zamfara State have already bought into the Ruga solution, they said the RUGA settlements would be designed in such a way that it will expand the economic base of the States, adding that infrastructures such as schools, hospitals, livestock clinic, houses, markets and other relevant infrastructures and social amenities that would make life comfortable for the ranch will also be provided in the RUGA settlements.


According to Ganduje, his Committee will also look at the possibility of creating Milk Market for the teeming wives of Fulani herders who face difficulties selling their milk, because of lack of storage facilities, adding that, already some private investors have indicated interest to partner with the State Government on the establishment of the market including financing from the Islamic Development (IDB) Bank of Saudi Arabia. He further stated that the terms of reference of the Committee on Ruga settlements include, “to identify areas/locations for the establishment of milk (Nono) market; identify other areas suitable for establishment of RUGA for the resettlement and improvement of nomadic cattle breeders; production of master plan of RUGA settlement”. Matawalle has already committed substantial funds for the State Ruga settlements.

Recommendation 3

·    Following the aforementioned, we call on the northern governors to buy into the FG proposed cattle ranch or Ruga, the lasting solution to the farmer-header hostilities while inculcating the core spirit of national values and regional identity: Engage with farmers and herders in affected areas to promote better understanding and reconciliation among groups in conflict, to better understand the peculiarities of the conflicts. To regularly engage with stakeholders (Traditional Rulers, Conflicting Group Leaders and Law Enforcement Agencies) with view to promoting reconciliation;

·    We urge the Federal Government to take the lead and liaise with other ECOWAS Member States to discuss the problem and find solutions to arms and drugs smuggling;

·    And in the interim Northern Governors can adopt the Sule Lamido’s or Gandujiyya model to overcome our farmer-herder challenges while we build our ranches;

·    Following some news that some violence has already started to manifest against the headsmen in the southern part of the country, asking the Fulanis to leave the region, Northern Governors should ask their counter-parts in the southern part to condemn the call and give protection to the northerners in the south as done by the northern governors. Every Nigerian has the right to live and conduct his business anywhere in Nigeria.

 
 

 

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