The Muslim Rights Concern Rights Concern has asked the Nigerian Government to give bailouts to herders to buy land in states for ranching in order to curb herders-farmers’ conflicts and insecurity.
In a statement titled, ‘MURIC to FG: Give bailout funds to herders to buy land for ranching’, the Director of the organisation, Prof Ishaq Akintola, said if bailouts could be given to banks, airlines, vehicle producing companies, and petroleum importers, such financial assistance should also be extended to herders.
He said, “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 the Federal Government should come in,” Akintola said.
“Federal Government must be prepared to stoop in order to conquer. A huge bailout must be granted to herders and cow owners to enable them 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 and cow owners and the time to do it is now.”
He said the herders-farmers’ 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 vigilantes 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 organised to keep the bandits at bay are also northerners,” he said.
“Therefore, there is no ethnic or religious factor in this ongoing herders and farmers’ crisis. It is neither Fulanisation nor Islamisation. It is an economic cum security problem; pure and simple.
“This has enabled MURIC to come to the conclusion that no religious or ethnic sentiment should be built around the herdsmen/farmers’ clash whether in Oyo, Ekiti or Ondo State.
“The reason Lagos has been spared to a large extent is the fact that it is not an agricultural state. The Lagos situation may also have been responsible for our earlier assumption that ethnicity and religious sentiments were at play in the herders/farmers’ quagmire.”
Calls for ban on open grazing amid incessant farmers-herders’ crisis in the country have continued to garner reactions in recent times.
On Monday, in an interview with SaharaReporters, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria said the era of open grazing of cattle in the country was coming to an end.
The Secretary General of the association, Baba Usman, described it as inevitable considering the increase in population of humans and animals.
Several governors in the southern part of the country have also banned open and night grazing in their states to address banditry and farmers-herders’ crisis.