June 2019

Farmers-Herders Crisis

By Dr Baba J Adamu

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There are three types of herdsmen: those rearing their cattle around their houses who do not pose a problem because they don’t move around. There are also those herders who are Nigerians from the northern part of the country, but would move across to the Middle-Belt and the southern part of the country during the 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, some herdsmen 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 are where the problem lies.  

 

And it has been argued that what exists between farmers and the herdsmen is trespass and reverses 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 has now become a crisis. Looking at it critically, the crisis 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 the 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 crisis. 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 problem. In the past, the hostilities were resolved legally by community leaders but now there is the need for a lasting solution, which can be 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 solutions and expect to have one. Similarly in other crises like communal or religious, the scenario, as Prof. Babajo of Kaduna State University (KASU) posits, the problems are as dynamic as their solutions and the most consistent nature of man is change. “Let us be devout and devoted to identifying our weaknesses and thinking about solutions” he has said.

 

The Farmer-Herder clashes occur all over Nigeria but especially in the core north and middle belt, thus threatening food security and peaceful co-existence in the country. These clashes have been more devastating in the middle belt, in such states as Kogi, Benue, Nasarawa, and Plateau. As a result, there have been calls to label the Herders/Nomads (Fulani Herdsmen) as terrorists, as the violence has spread to other regions in the East and South. From 2011-2019, the violence claimed an estimated 8,000 lives, based on a 2019 joint assessment by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons. The report also indicated that a total of 210,354 persons have been displaced from 171 towns across the north-western region. Arms and ammunition from at least 21 different nations, including the United States, Israel, Iran and 18 other countries are used in the farmer-herder crisis in Nigeria, a report by SB Morgan (SBM) Intelligence says. There are also seasonal communal clashes and regional conflicts in Kaduna and Jos. Most of these conflicts are ethnic conflicts, while others are religious-based among Christians and Muslims. In modern times, the farmer-herder crisis in Kaduna South, and Jos Crisis have been a recurring incident, and have continued to ravage families. Many have had to seek shelter in neighbouring states, as so many lives have been taken. Banditry violence has also been on the increase in Nigeria, as it has affected people living in such states as Zamfara, Kaduna, Niger, Sokoto, Kebbi, and the Katsina States in the North-West. According to the Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS), about 21 million of those living in these states have been exposed to insecurity from the activities of these bandits. These activities which include cattle rustling, kidnapping, and sexual violence, have affected about 35 of the 92 local government areas in the four states. As of March 2020, ACAPS reported that about 210,000 persons have been internally displaced, and over 35000 have sought refuge in neighbouring countries such as the Niger Republic.

Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state has set up an Administrative Committee of Inquiry to look into the land dispute between farmers and herders in Zadawa ward of Misau LGA, the government indicted the Emir of Misau Alhaji Ahmed Suleiman with dereliction of duty. On the 25th September 2020 state government received the Report of the Committee, which looked into the land dispute and communal clashes that erupted between Farmers and Herders in Zadawa Ward of Hardawa District, Misau Local Government Area (LGA) a few months ago, which led to the loss of lives and properties. The government has accepted the report of the Committee and the whitepaper states as follows: “The committee’s investigation revealed that Malumje grazing reserve is a community grazing reserve and the allocation of parts of the forest reserve to farmers or self-acquisitions of the forest as farmlands are in contravention of the forestry law and laws of Bauchi State 2007. The government has accepted the committee’s recommendation for the total revocation of all the allocations including Farmlands that are self-acquired and the Government has consequently directed the re-establishment of cattle routes in the reserve. The committee observed that there are illegal allocations of farmlands to individuals on the gazetted Forest reserves of Maladumba, Danfisa/Bokki, Gambara/Tofu and Umala/Jarkasa forests, in clear violation of the laws establishing forest reserves. In line with the recommendation of the committee these allocations are here-by revoked by the Government. “Various Administrative sanctions have been taken against some traditional institutions found to be culpable or complicit in the crisis”. Sixteen persons identified to have allegedly participated in masterminding and fuelling the crisis in the area, Gidado informed, are to be further investigated, while he added that the Secretary to the State Government is directed to ensure that the police and Local Government Service Commission are involved in the investigation.

The proliferation of Arms and Ammunition in the Crisis: As mentioned, arms and ammunition from at least 21 different nations, including the United States, Israel, Iran and 18 other countries are used in the farmer-herder crisis in Nigeria. The report, according to TheCable, entitled, ‘Report on small arms, mass atrocities and migration in Nigeria’, was funded by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA). Findings from the report revealed that the proliferation of small arms in southern and northern Nigeria is responsible for the mass atrocities in the different parts of the country. In the southern region, it said instances of such atrocities “include communal clashes, cultism, kidnappings, ethnic and religious clashes as well as militancy in the Niger Delta”. “Southern Nigeria has established local arms manufacturing sector and there is also significant importation/smuggling from international sources,” it said. The report said nations in East Europe and Asia “are the major sources of illegal arms in southern Nigeria”. In northern Nigeria, lots of arms come from Libya; Mali including from immediate neighbouring countries; the report further identified the rise in small arms, mass unemployment as well as corruption as the cause of the high rate of criminality, banditry and violence in the region.

“Locally manufactured arms, which are normally fabricated in small-scale factories, without legal permits, contribute to a large percentage of arms in circulation in northern Nigeria (especially in North-Central Nigeria,” it said. said in Benue and Plateau states “locally made weapons are estimated to be used in over 50% of crimes committed”. The report revealed that Nigeria’s porous borders with neighbouring countries like Chad and the Niger Republic facilitate the sourcing of weapons externally in the northern region. Other ammunition come from these nations including Israel, Poland, Brazil, Iran, USA, Czech Republic, Algeria and Egypt, it said. The report added that the mass atrocities have led to a rise in the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) in the country making the crisis more complex and dynamic.

The dynamic situation is a 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 further study carried out by researchers where they examined the factors contributing to the Farmers-Herders crisis or conflict in Sabuwa, Dansadau, Birnin Gwari and Southern Kaduna. The results are a reflection of what is happening in the north and across the country regarding the crisis, and the following are taking into consideration:

  •  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;

  • 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;

  • 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.

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 farmlands while the farmers were levied for farming on cattle routes or encroaching on grazing reserves. The 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 motorbikes attacked the village around 2 pm 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.

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 conflict and accept them as familiar – “Kamar yan’uwa”. There are also, traditional mechanisms for the resolution of such conflicts as both groups admitted during fieldwork. 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. The 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 a 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 vigilante groups.  The existing recognized vigilante 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” organized themselves into revenged seeking groups specifically targeting Fulani settlements, thus unleashing further reprisal attacks.

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. In 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 to feed on 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 an increase in population and of absentee farmers. Though more lands were put into farming, which is supposed to give the herders more advantage, 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. Besides, the forest area was taken over by the Federal Government and made a National Park with clear rules and regulations for operating within its premises. The Federal Government’s inability to manage the National Park properly, to attract tourists and tourism turned the forest into a 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 expressway reduced the number of vehicles plying the route. Armed robbers who used to rob vehicles coming from the South turned their attention to 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 gunmen, and in the open.  From 2012, when banditry became a defined lifestyle of some people in Birnin Gwari more than 450 people were killed in the 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 interest 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 the pastoral movement in the region in search of pasture caused by the increasing deterioration of the environment. 

The Results from Southern Kaduna: Similarly, in the Southern part of Kaduna, the crisis 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 crisis or 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 insecurity have had a devastating effect on many communities in the north and some parts of the south. Hundreds of lives have been lost. Thousands of people have been displaced. It is estimated that between 40% of the productive capacity of peasants were lost all across the north while thousands of cattle and other livestock have been rustled.

A wave of attacks and counter-attacks had swept through the local government in the southern Kaduna between June and August 2020, leaving scores of people, including children and women of Atyap (also Kataf) and Hausa-Fulani extractions, dead and precipitating a human emergency. But on August 22, 2020, the warring communities held a peace summit under the auspices of the Atyap chief, Mr. Yahaya, and signed a pact to end the killings. It was an initiative of the Atyap Chiefdom in the Zangon Kataf LGA, the main theatre of the historic Southern Kaduna crisis, 80-member committee named, “Community Peace and Security Partnership, CpSP” was inaugurated at the palace of the Agwatyap, the paramount ruler of the Atyap Chiefdom, Dominic Yahaya; with the Kataf and Hausa-Fulani communities pledging to end violent attacks. “In further charting a more lasting solution to the peace process, it has been considered appropriate to implement one of the key resolutions reached the Summit and to carry along the grassroots, which is the establishment of the Atyap Chiefdom Community Peace and Security and Partnership committee,” the chief, Mr. Yahaya said.

But apart from heavy security presence in the area now, there are also community-led peace initiatives going on. This has been seen in Jema’a LGA between the Fulani and the Fantswam and also in Doka, Kachia LGA between the Fulani and the Adara. An elated official said the team would "proffer solutions that will enhance peaceful co-existence.” The committee includes members from the Kataf, Hausa and Fulani communities, Christian and Muslim local leaderships, Igbo community, Miyetti Allah, the pastoral Fulani group, youth and women folds, and the civil society. Highlighting the responsibilities of the committee, the chief also said they would “proffer solutions that will enhance peaceful co-existence” and “be proactive in determining matters of conflict triggers before they snowball into violence.” He said the committee would also “advise on youth programmes and activities that would promote inter-communal relationships in the Chiefdom,” and “create district/village area sub-committees for the actualization of peace at the grassroots level and these committees would feed the main committee on security threats and other matters at the village level.” Reacting after the inauguration, the chairman of the committee, John Gora, the Dan Madami Atyap, said, “We have accepted to work as a team against the violence that has bedevilled our community. By the grace of God, we shall have peace.” Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs in the state, Samuel Aruwan, said, “the initiative is grounded in the community, not driven from outside but we will do everything within our reach to support you. Atyap Chiefdom is setting the pace in peace-building and the world is watching.” Southern Kaduna, long known for deadly ethnoreligious conflicts., usually rooted in struggles for land resources and self-determination and the settler-indigene divide, which have been left unresolved by successive governments and led to an atmosphere of mutual distrust, hatred and intolerance, is about to get a lasting solution.

“Ruga” or Ranch and Colony Crisis: A ranch or Ruga in the Hausa language, simply put is a space of land dedicated for raising grazing livestock such as cows, goats, and sheep including horses and donkeys for commercial purposes. It is usually large with accompanying structures to service the value chain of the ranch. In short, it is the restriction of nomadic lifestyle as it is known globally, 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, it is called a colony. So, therefore, the colony is not colonization.

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

The types of questions above are those that are psychologically and emotionally rooted. Because as popular sayings go “where ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be wise, where hypocrisy is bliss, it is unwise to be silent”. They include fear, anger, anxiety, jealousy, mistrust, hostility and other negative feelings that often cloud perception and inhibit rational thinking and communication leading to crises. 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 a 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. The 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 to the President.

Also, the 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, some 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, the 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 the 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 the 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? The government has spent billions bailing out distressed banks from 2005 to 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 purely personal and private to the individuals?

  • Are those private (mostly religious owned) universities not private businesses? They seek TETFUND funds to 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 a public business? Apart from Naval force with military-style ships, all other ships are privately owned, but why is the government building dockyards or seaports where commercial ships and boats privately owned, a berth to load and off-loaded?

  • What about the 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 the government of what should have been the personal obligations of individuals or families? Is it not a subsidy to give scholarships and pay lecturers? And spends billions in feeding primary school kids across the country to boost school enrolment?

  • Is small scale trading or even big scale trading the responsibility of the government or private business? Why then should the government give small scale traders little sums like 10,000 nairas or more each to help them boost their little trades? Shouldn't they source their 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 nairas 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 the 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 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 the 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 the government, which of them are Fulani herdsmen who roam the forests with their cows enjoying?

  • Is it the government that gives them the rains that always beat them in the jungles alongside their cattle, or is it the 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 unfolding, and it's unfortunate.

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 nairas 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 advanced 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, the 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 the opportunity to socialize. including industrialization and economic diversification leading to a 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 the 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).

 
 
 

 

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