Richard Ginika Izuora
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has advocated establishment of ranches for herders to address lingering crises with farmers all over the country.
According to MURIC, this move is necessary in order to redress the incessant herder-farmer conflicts as well as insecurity.
This call was made in a statement issued by the MURIC Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Wednesday, February 3, titled, ‘MURIC to FG: Give bailout funds to herders to buy land for ranching’.
Some Governors have already prohibited open and night grazing in their states; to address banditry and the crisis between farmers and herders.
Also, Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje had suggested that a ban be placed on the movement of cattle from the north to the south.
Akintola said if bailout funds could be given to banks; airlines; vehicle producing companies; as well as petroleum importers; such financial assistance should be extended to herders to build ranches.
“Meanwhile herders and cow owners may not be willing; or they may lack the capacity to buy land for cattle grazing. As for the will, Northern traditional leaders have a role to play in persuading herders and cow owners to change their mindset; and become willing to operate ranches. Concerning financial capacity, this is where FG should come in,” the MURIC Director said.
“FG must be prepared to stoop in order to conquer. A huge bailout must be granted to herders and cow owners to enable them to buy land and set up ranches.
“Such a bailout is not new and the herders/farmers conundrum necessitates it. After all banks, airlines, private vehicle producing companies; petroleum importers; and even farmers have received subsidies; bailouts; and waivers in the past. It is now the turn of herders as well as cow owners; and the time to do it is now.”
He said the herder-farmer conflicts do not have ethnic and religious connotations; and that cattle also destroy crops in the northern part of the country.
“For example, herders who destroy farms in Zamfara are Northerners. It is also generally assumed that they are Muslims. Zamfara hunters and vigilante men who protect the farms and chase the herders; are also Northerners and Muslims as well.
“Bandits in Sokoto are also Northerners; while the local guards organized to keep the bandits at bay are also Northerners,” he said.