Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, yesterday re-echoed his call on the Federal Government to ban open grazing and the migration of herders from the North to the South. He insisted that only this will end crisis and guarantee peace between farmers and herders in the South- West. Ganduje stated this during a stakeholders’ meeting of five governors and members of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), farmers, security agencies and other stakeholders in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
The meeting, which was hosted by Governor Dapo Abiodun, was held to put an end to persistent attacks of suspected killer-herdsmen in some parts of the state. The meeting had in attendance Governors Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Bello Matawale (Zamfara), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Abubakar Sanni Bello (Niger) and National Chairman of MACBAN, Alhaji Muhammed Kirowa.
Ganduje called for the registration of cattle and herders by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) or prevention of the movement of cattle into Nigeria. The Kano state governor also called on the Federal Government to assist herders with funds just as it has been assisting other farmers.
Ganduje said: “The movement by trekking from Northern part of this country to the Southern part of this country by herders must be stopped. If we need peace with the farmers, but if we are not led by sentiments, herdsmanship must change from traditional to commercial herdsmanship.
“Cattle herding must transform to commercial, not traditional. Those days are gone and I know some of the members of the Miyetti Allah may not be happy with my statement, but I have to make it; I’m a Fulani man like them. “It is economic issues that are turning into tribal issues, that are turning into religious issues.
So if we spend the whole day talking about the tribal issues, the religious issues, that will not solve the problems. “The issue is that can we change the herdsmanship from traditional to commercial nature? That issue must be discussed and it can only be discussed when we have adequate data.” Abiodun, in his speech, said from interim security report, some criminal elements with the intention of setting the people against themselves by whipping up ethnic sentiments are behind the attacks. The governor said the killer-herdsmen who are non-residents of the state, “sneak in at night, wreak havoc and retreat after their evil acts”.
“There is a need for collective action between all of us, whether as native farmers; cattle owners; herders; local community leaders; security agents etc. to rid our dear state of these criminals.” In his remarks, Sarkin Fulani of Abeokuta, Muhammad Kabir Labar said 23 herders have been killed since the beginning of the clashes