Public outrage and wild condemnation have continued to trail the wanton killings and destruction of communities and farmland across the country by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
Apparently perturbed by the sad development, particularly the invasion of Nimbo, Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State on Monday in which no fewer than five persons were killed, the House of Representatives summoned the Director General of the Department of State Security (DSS), Lawal Daura.
In addition, the lawmakers directed the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase to carry out a thorough investigation of the incident.
The directive was issued at a public hearing, which deliberated on the urgent need to address incessant clashes between herdsmen, farmers and host communities and introduction of micro irrigation for farmers.
The public hearing was held by the House of Representatives Committee on Agricultural Production and Services.
Emir, Archbishop, group react
Similarly, the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, the Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma as well as the Agbekoya Farmers Revolutionary Group (AFRG) expressed concerns over the activities of the herdsmen. While Sulu-Gambari said the rampaging herdsmen constituted a threat to the nation’s corporate existence, Chukwuma warned that Igbo’s would declare a war on the herdsmen if nothing was done to check their menace.
Addressing newsmen yesterday in Enugu, Most Rev. Chukwuma who is the Bishop of Enugu Anglican Diocese said recent killings by Fulani herdsmen in the South East could no longer be tolerated.
“What happened in Nimbo community of Uzo-Uwani cannot be tolerated and so we are calling on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency on the Hausa Fulani’s in the East because these are now Boko Haram in Igboland which cannot be tolerated.
“The lives being lost over the menace of Fulani herdsmen can no longer be tolerated; so we are condemning this act and saying that enough is enough! Failure to stop this menace in the South East will result to our mobilizing our youths, including MASSOB, and other Biafra agitators to go after the Fulani’s in the South East.
“We are going to ban the movement of cows from the North to the South East; we will ban and we will make sure that no Fulani person operates here with his cow. Mr. President must do something about this; we will not allow this to escalate in the East and as a church leader, on behalf of other leaders, I am saying that we will match force for force. I will declare serious war against the Fulani in Igboland,” he said.
But the emir, who spoke when the vice president, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, paid him a courtesy visit yesterday, said the herdsmen were not Nigerians.
“People get it wrong when they describe the rampaging and destructive herdsmen as Fulani herdsmen. They are not Fulani. They are wandering and migrating tribe of people going everywhere. They are here to destroy Nigeria’s entity. So, it behooves on the Federal Government to be more serious on the issue so that it doesn’t become another Boko Haram on our hands,” the royal father who is the chairman, Kwara State council of traditional rulers said.
land in nine states
As a way out of the problem, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh said Federal Government has commenced partnership with nine states to create grazing reserves. According to him, grazing land has already been secured in nine states. He however, refused to name the states.
The minister also said government has adopted a three-year plan aimed at drastically reducing cattle grazing as it has become evident that the clashes between farmers and Fulani herdsmen can break the country.
Ogbeh who spoke at a public hearing said time has come for government to take a stand on the crisis.
The minister, who said he was not perturbed by the criticisms that trailed the disclosure of government’s plans to import plant seeds for the production of nutritious grass to feed cattle, stressed that feeding cattle in ranches would greatly reduce clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
“For those who feel that the Fulani don’t like settling in one town, I doubt if that belief is true. I believe that if we give them food for their cattle in one location, they will settle, grazing will reduce and with time the crisis will halt. We want to do this within the next two to three years.
“I have heard that there is a law on legalising grazing routes that has passed second reading. Well, you can legalise the routes, but where are the routes leading to? The routes must lead to grasslands and they are reducing. If the routes lead to farmers lands, then the conflicts will continue.
“So, what we are doing is to work with states, nine of which have given us 5,000 hectares each, to grow this grass which the cows will be fed with.
“We think this is probably a long term and safer option of dealing with this issue, because emotions are high and we need to bring this matter to a halt because we don’t this country to break up,” he said.
On Tuesday, March 15, the House of Representatives passed for Second Reading, consolidated bills for an Act to Establish the National Grazing Route and Reserves Commission to establish and control grazing routes and reserves in all parts of Nigeria.
The bill was sponsored by Sunday Karimi. Another bill for an Act to create cattle ranches under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to oversee the production and rearing of livestock, including cattle was sponsored by Dickson Tarkigir.