Head or tail, Fulani wins
Sir: The two major candidates Nigerians voted for during the presidential election are Fulani. Nigeria had a similar situation in year 2007, when two Yoruba, Chief Olu Falaye and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo contested for the presidency of this nation.
After Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen are the next troublers of this nation. I once sent an SMS to one of the special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari, early in 2016 that Fulani herdsmen were going to damage the reputation of Buhari, if the presidency failed to act promptly.
The pure Fulani pastoralist engages in random movement of cattle while the semi-nomadic make trans-human emigration and return to their camps or homes. Fulani herdsmen are largely located in the Sahel and semi arid part of West African, but due to changes in climate patterns many herdsmen have moved further south into the savannah and tropical forest belt of West Africa. The herdsmen are found in countries such as Nigeria, Niger, Senegal, Guinea, Mauritania, Mail, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Benin, Cote d’voire and Cameroun.
In Nigeria, the livestock supplied by the herdsmen provide a bulk of beef consumption in the country.
Violent conflicts between nomadic herdsmen from northern Nigeria and sedentary agrarian communities in the central and southern areas have escalated in recent years. For example, there have been several violent conflicts between farmers and Fulani herdsmen in Benue State in which more than 2,000 people have been killed and properties with billions of naira destroyed.
The security and agencies are not helping matter especially the Nigerian police force.
The president even ordered the then Inspector General to relocate to Benue State, but he failed to do so.
The Fulani herdsmen are having field days as they continue killing and destroying unabated.
Let us face the fact; fighting corruption alone cannot win the first citizen of the nation for Buhari. He should improve and should be seen to improve security all-over Nigeria.
He should establish or strengthen violent mediation resources, reconciliation and of course, this should be done at state and local government levels, the rural communities especially areas, mostly affected by conflict.
The Federal Government should establish grazing reserves only in consenting states and improve livestock production and management in order to minimize contact and friction between Fulani herdsmen and farmers. This will entail developing grazing reserves in the 10 northern states where governments have already earmarked lands for this purpose.
Formulating and implementing the 10- year National Ranch Development Plan proposed by a stakeholder forum facilitated by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in April, 2017.
In the longer term, federal and state governments should consider addressing the environmental factors that are driving Fulani herdsmen migration to the south.
This implementation of programmes under the Great Green Wall Initiative for the Sahara and Sahel, a Trans African project designed to restore drought and desert degraded environments in Nigeria’s far northern belt, the Federal Government should also develop strategies for mitigating climate change impact in the far northern states of the country.
Although, some of these suggestions may not yield immediate results, the Federal Government must curb the destructive tendency of these Fulani herdsmen for posterity sake. Failure to respond decisively and effectively, would allow Nigeria to continue sliding into increasing deadly violent more so, when Nigerians have placed their lives and that of their families in the hands of two Fulani politicians
Dr. Sunday O. Ajai.