Herders/farmers clashes: Governor Bala and the southern Nigerian Governors – Abdussalam Ilyasu writes in from the Department of Mass Communication
University of Maiduguri

The lingering conflicts between farmers and Herdsmen is indeed a worrisome development that has continued to disturb the nation’s political, economic and social wellbeing of the citizenry.

Nigeria as a nation need more of agriculture than any other aspect of livelihood to feed itself and by extension, export to other nations. The fate of the nation largely depends on both crop farmers and cattle rearers to stand on its feet as a country.

The natural resources that abound in the country won’t be good enough for any Nigerian without peaceful coexistence. The recent unrest between Hausa/ Fulani and Yoruba people in some parts of Nigeria is a big shame. However, no one need to be blame on this as I consider the issue as a minor misunderstanding between the two sets of Nigerians who have over the years enjoyed peaceful coexistence. Be it a Northerner or Southerner, we are all Nigerians no matter the religion, culture and ethnic coloration.

Based on the available research, there is no traceable record that indicated who first settled in Nigeria among all the tribes. If that is the case, then there is no need for all this ethic, religious or regional division.

The recent feud between Bauchi State governor, Bala Muhammad and his counterpart, Samuel Ortom of Benue state, though has been put to rest with the recent reconciliation effort by Douye Diri of Bayelsa state and Nyesom Wike of Rivers state need not to have reared its ugly face in the first place.

I consider the bad development as nothing but interest because non of them is expected to defend or support the other, but rather, to create platform that will bring the conflicting tribes together, been leaders.
Therefore, at this point in time holistic approach need to be taken in ending the existing crisis between farmers and herdsmen. In other way, the governors need to stop attacking one another and face their primary responsibilities of protecting the lives and property of the citizens.

If governors themselves will be fighting one another on such issues, then what about the governed who are under their watch, and what legacies are they living to their successors? This is actually wrong for them to be exchanging words within them.
Exchange of words will only add fuel to the crisis. The conflicting tribes will act superior. Supporting a particular region, culture, ethnicity is like pushing the tribe to perpetrate evil against others and go unpunished.

After the Uthman Dan Fodio jihad, the Fulanis integrated into Hausa ethnic group of Northern Nigeria. Based on the Danfodio’s teaching as a Fulani man, no Fulani man would like conflicts.
Sometimes not all, the herdsmen will be wrong while the driving cattle for grazing on farmlands, this art of grazing leads to destruction of crops which often create conflict between the Herdsmen and farmers.
In this case, the attention of government should be focused on revisiting and implementing the 1978 Land Use Act which gives state or federal government the right to assign land and also give indigenes to apply and be given a certificate of occupancy to claim ownership of their ancestral lands. By so doing, it will give opportunity to fulani to get land for grazing.

On a final note, considering the above stated reasons, Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Muhammad and that of Benue state, Samuel Ortom need to stand on their recent resolved not to further engage each other in the unfortunate verbal war that nearly put division across people in Nigeria as there are better ways of bringing an end to the issue at hand. Doing so will actually help both the farmers and Herdsmen to settle themselves.

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