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Presidency welcomes Mounstephen’s report on herders-farmers clashes


Fulani Herdsmen. PHOTO: Issouf Sanogo (AFP/File)

• Buhari agrees ranching yields more meat, milk

The presidency has welcomed Bishop Philip Mounstephen’s report to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and the United Kingdom (UK)’s new focus on herders-farmers clashes.

UK Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, announced on December 26, 2018, that the FCO had commissioned an independent review into the persecution of Christians around the world. The review was a direct response to reports that Christian minorities around the world were among the most persecuted religious groups.

It was alleged that the FCO’s response to the issue was inadequate; that it demonstrated “religious blindness”. Bishop of Truro, Rev. Mounstephen, headed the review committee. A statement signed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, yesterday, recommended engagement with various stakeholders as key to breeding dialogue and trust to resolve the conflict.

“As the report sets out, there are many causes to the conflict, from competition over land to climate change. The National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) sets out to deal with these by preventing open grazing of cattle and consequently the destruction of crops.

“Enclosed ranching is a core component of the programme. For farmers, this guarantees their yield and livelihood. For herders, all livestock produce more meat and milk in a ranch rather than being always on the move,” the presidential statement read in part.

Meanwhile, Mohammed Ibrahim, popularly known as Sat Guru Maharaj Ji, has advised farmers to seek assistance from herbalists, elders and traditionalists for some charms that would prevent invasion of their farms by herders.In a statement made available to The Guardian, the self-acclaimed ‘Perfect Living Master’ noted that some concoctions prepared with leaves and plants could be spread on farms to scare herdsmen.

The Nigerian spiritual leader noted the palpable fear everywhere, particularly among the ethnic groups who see the herdsmen as the foot soldiers of the Northern political elite.He expressed displeasure over the killing of Southerners in the North, while advising the Northerners to respect human rights.Buhari had promised last April to do all it takes to confront the security challenges and not allow merchants of death and evil to overwhelm the nation.


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