The Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) has decried the destructive activities of Fulani herdsmen in the South-west of the country, warning that such activities adversely affect food security in the nation as farmers are unable to produce optimally.
The ARG also said farmers would now have to defend their lives and property if security agencies fail to check the killer cattle herders. The group also condemned the proposal by Northern Governors Forum (NGF) to open a register for immigrant Fulani herdsmen, whom the forum identified as aliens and threats to Nigeria’s internal security.
A statement by the group’s Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kunle Famoriyo, called for a ban on open grazing and the arrest and prosecution of arms-bearing herdsmen to stem further loss of lives and property. It also said the way forward was to establish and promote ranching in order to stop the prevailing conflicts between herdsmen and farmers.
The statement reads: “Farmers are paying for land use. So, why should herdsmen not? If herdsmen are justified to bear arms, why should farmers not do same? If herdsmen continue to get higher priority, our farmers would be right to resort to self-defence because where injustice becomes a law, resistance becomes a duty…”
“This has aggravated the sweeping poverty in Nigeria and has displaced many of our people. Nigeria’s socio-economic indices are clear that farmers, not herdsmen, should get higher priority from government, being a higher employer of labour, higher contributor to tax, FOREX earning and GDP.”
It also condemned “Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, arrogantly and cold-heartedly declared on Aljazeera recently that killer herdsmen must be accommodated because Nigeria is a signatory to ECOWAS’s treaty on trans-humane pastoralist protocol. We wonder if ECOWAS treaties are only obligatory where it concerns Fulani interest as there are other treaties that Nigeria has ignored.
“Another example is the recent ban on car importation through land borders which Comptroller General Hameed Ali said was done to stop influx of illegal arms. If this policy could be implemented swiftly, at great economic loss to stakeholders and despite a Senate order against it, why has nothing been done to disarm herdsmen who freely roam about with sophisticated weapons?”