Ending The herdsmen killings in Nigeria [by Bello Shuaibu]
Firstly I’d love to say the lives of a million or more cows is not worth that of a human life but then Who are those responsible for the killings? I’ve asked some questions and from the information I gathered it is believed that those responsible are the “Fulanis’ whose primary occupation is raising livestock while others believe the killings is politically based but then many also say it’s the boko haram group disguising themselves as Fulani herdsmen to tarnish the image of the current administration.
In some circles (both offline and online) discourses have tended to draw on hidden motives about this whole episode. Some blame the West for planning to destabilize Nigeria. Others believe it is the work of Nigeria’s President Muhammad Buhari political rivals- the neo-colonial elite, who many believe to be corrupt and power hungry. Another school of thought suggests that the killer herdsmen has a bigger plan, and the killing incident is merely a distraction to unleash a greater terror. Yet others have concluded that they are not Fulanis, but rather is a politicized and constructed/deliberate conspiracy theory. Whatever conclusion is reached, it is glaringly obvious that Nigeria can no longer adopt the same reactive stance toward this terrorist group.
There have been other disturbing incidents immediately following the hundreds killed already in Benue state and other states like Yola, home state to former Nigeria Vice President Atiku Abubakar . One of these is the clash between the herdsmen and farmers in Minda, Lau local government area of Taraba state. Due to the inadequacy of state responses to this crisis, citizens are now stepping in to take the law into their hands.
Over 3,000 lives have been lost with numerous casualties recorded, and more than 2000 children are out of school for fear of losing their lives. There are thousands of other citizens, displaced and homeless.
It is becoming irrelevant also whether one is a Muslim, a Christian, a Traditionalist or an Atheist, the killer herdsmen strikes anyone considered the enemy, or anyone unfortunate enough to be present when the group decides to strike.
The Nigerian government has continuously demonstrated a lack of capacity to curtail and contain violent uprisings. This is not for a lack of solutions but perhaps a lack of foresight. What we continue to see instead is the polarization and politicization of events like these attacks.
Now is the time to start sending surveillance planes, establish ranches in line with modern practice in civilized countries. With ranches, the livestock would be healthier, more productive, while the herdsmen would avoid unnecessary attacks and would also be able to give their children opportunity to be educated.
It will be best also to stop cattle rearers from roaming the streets which most often causess road accidents and panic in most cases, but rather the government should ensure that the owners will henceforth take responsibility of their livestocks by keeping them off public areas or private owned properties (farms). Let the owners take them to their ranches, provided with water and adequate security by the rangers, adequate pasture milk collection and even security against rustlers to enable them live a normal life. This has been successfully done in India, Ethiopia and even Brazil.
Among other things it is high time the political elite stop the practice of blaming the victims of injustice in the land. Since the federal government has a legal duty to protect the life and property of every citizen it has failed to put an end to the perennial violent conflicts between farmers and cattle herdsmen which have needlessly claimed many lives and destruction of properties worth several billions of Naira in many states of the federation.
The government need to track the sponsors and expose them meanwhile also work towards disarming this killer herdsmen. They must also take the issue of using suivellience planes seriously
Writer/Social Media Expert