Miyetti Allah, a Fulani socio-cultural group, has accused Southerners of exaggerating herdsmen attacks to score political points.
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Saleh Alhassan said this while speaking on The Roundtable, a programme on Punch Online.
He said the clash between herders and farmers is nothing new, explaining that open grazing and open farming would provide means for clashes to occur but the situation is being exaggerated by southerners.
“This thing is exaggerated; it is not that it is not there but it is exaggerated to score political points and that is the danger of it,” he said.
“We have been having traditional farmers-herders conflicts. You can’t expect that if you have open grazing and you have open farming, there won’t be some friction. We are not saying we should fence farms. Supposing in certain areas when you farm, you fence your farm, it is also a solution but we are looking at it one way and we are thinking that because President (Muhammadu) Buhari is from Fulani background, the Fulanis are enjoying an advantage (but) they are not enjoying anything.”
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Alhassan also said the Federal Government has been paying lip service to different schemes it suggested to help the herders operate in ranches. He said for such schemes to be successful, a herder must head the programme. He said the government could budget N150 billion to kick start ranching across the country.
“Is it not a policy that they have been parroting from RUGA, Livestock, Ranching, have they implemented anyone? You can’t have a Livestock Transformation Plan and then the head of the programme is not a herder. It is technically sabotaging,” he said.
“For a start, the government can budget N150bn. It is not free money, this investment can be rolled in from 15 to 20 years to develop all the value chains.
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“Look at what developed countries are getting from livestock farming. Check what Brazil, Netherlands and others are making from dairies. So, what stops us from doing that?
“All these money they are looting and taking to Dubai and other places, if they have invested it, even if it is on their private farms, wouldn’t it be a starting point? How much have the herders caused this country compared to the looters of our common resources that are being celebrated?” he added.