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This monster has claimed over 1 million lives and made several Nigerians homeless with billions of properties destroyed.
From the body language of the federal government and the scanty utterances of President Buhari who incidentally is of fulani extraction and a cattle owner, the nation looks unto the national assembly who are the true representative of the people for immediate intervention as the situation seem to have over powered security agencies.
Sequel to a motion moved by Hon Mark Gbillah titled "Influx of unidentified Fulani Herdsmen in Benue State and Consequent Threat to Life and Property of Citizens in the State" NASS instituted a joint committee to investigate the matter.
The lawmakers also intend to provide a legislative palliative and perhaps a permanent solution to end the clash. This bill which has passed second reading seeks to establish grazing routes, ranches and settlements centres for the nomads.
Lawmakers are divided along ethnic lines as some of them from the North especially those of fulani extractions are of the view that the traditional cattle rearing practice of moving from place to place is cultural and should be allowed to continue. They equally held that search for pasture and water is the another factor that make the cattle nomads move as desertification and climate change has badly affected cattle folder in the north, hence the move south wards via the middle belt.
Meanwhile, their counterparts from the south are emphatic that the region is not ready to accommodate cattle grazing root and lacks the land for the establishment of ranches. They further cited the hostilities of the herds men and their domineering attitude as a factor, maintaining that the fulani community will overrun the entire region if allowed to become legitimate cohabitors.
However, a sizable number of northern lawmakers are very vocal about the sedentary life of the herds men insisting that creating ranches where ventinary doctors, hospitals, schools for the shepherds as well as adequate food and water for the cattle, saying that it will reduce unrest and give the herds men access to quality education.
The public hearing was an assemblage of all stake holders like the Farmers Association of Nigeria, Miyetti Allah an umbrella for cattle farmers, Ministry of Agriculture, victims of the cattle herds men attack like the Benue community and the Ohaneze Ndigbo as well as security agencies.
Records show that Benue state was the worst hit. In his submission to the House Committee on Police Affairs, the Deputy governor of Benue State, Benson Obuono was emphatic that unless cattle rearing is looked at as a private professional business of a group of people, devoid of government involvement, the nation will continue to have problem.
Abounu insists that cattle farmers must seek permission from land owners for a piece of land in order to create ranch and not the other way round.
He also expressed that there seems to be a shrouded agenda which the herds men were trying to actualize with their recent conquest.
He said, "There appears to be a systematic move by a certain group of people somehow trying to annihilate the people of Benue state, take over the place and establish some kind of kingdom or some kind of rulership. What is happening in Benue state is not localized, it has taken a national dimension. These people intend to come to Benue and because Benue is a crossing point to the eastern and southern part of this country, they want to weaken the fabrics of Benue state to the extent that when they are coming to pass, it will be easier for them.
"There is some level of their presence in Kogi already and the way we are looking at it, it appears as if they will come into Benue, cross over, enter Kogi and from there to river niger. When they take over and they move to the south, it looks to us that something else is going to happen.
"Something tells me that if we do not nip this one at the bud, because it is already assuming a national dimension, the catastrophy that we are going to see may even be ten times worst than what has happened with the Boko Haram" Obuono maintains.
In the same note, the Deputy governor of Anambra State Nkem Okeke told the committee that ranch is the only solution that will eliminate the clash as herds men and their cattle will be confined to a locality where water and pasture will be made available. Making further case for his state, he said that Anambra state is poorly blessed with land and lacks the land mass to accommodate cattle ranching.
The minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbe said that the traditional system of moving cattle for vegetation and water is no longer in vogue as the cattle produce insufficient and less quality milk and less quality meat. He stressed that such cows look ill and weak as cattle were supposed to stay in a place, eat drink sufficient water and rest.
A pan- Tiv socio-group, Mdzough U Tiv led by Engr E.I.T Ujege comprising of fourteen Local Government Councils is demanding N100 billion compensation from the Federal government as well as rehabilitate of the Tivs who had suffered physical and psychological torture from the ravaging herds men.
BLACK PEOPLE, PLEASE READ & HEED. POIGNANT
The sad thing about this article is that the essence of it is true. The truth hurts. I just hope this sets more Black people in motion towards making REAL progress. Chris Rock, a Black comedian, even joked that Blacks don’t read.