Photo: Yoruba leaders in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, have handed red card to Fulani herdsmen in the region
This is a war President Muhammadu Buhari can fight and win easily and to most peoples’ satisfaction.
A few years ago there were common internecine wars going on between Cattle rearers and land owners in Bauchi, and Benue states. I thought it stopped only to see that the war had moved down to SE; but before I could get into it the war has showed its ugly face in the SW.
The case of cattle farmers invading and using land belong to farmers in the NC, SE, and SW with authorization and without paying land usage fees can only bring trouble especially when farmers’ crops are destroyed.
This is a war the cattle farmer Buhari, can wage and win and which would make everybody happy. There are no more cattle shepherds anywhere in the world except in Nigeria. Story of shepherds are read from ancient books such as Bibles and Korans.
The 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st century cattle farmers keep their cattle in Enclosures (enclosed farms) as I read in my economic history books. This was a great improvement as farmers could then milk their cows while they prepare them for meat consumption.
There are other benefits: the cows could put on more weight, more meat and therefore more money in the pockets of farmers. The farmers could live more settled lives with their families. The cattle could receive better medical care from veterinarians and therefore protected from infections that could lead to mass cattle death or unhealthy meats for consumers
It would also prevent internecine wars.
There are two simple solutions to this challenge in Nigeria: poaching or legislation banning touring shepherds and demanding that all transportation of animals be by trucks or rail cars. The former (poaching) would be implemented by those whose lands are being seized by cattle owners without a land use fee; the second would be implemented by the government.
If PMB would send a legislation to the congress and demanding a quick action and the legislature passes and PMB signs and start implementing the law ASAP, he would avert a possible war between cattle farmers and landlords which could quickly turn into inter-tribal wars and security breaches.
This kind of war would cover all of NC, SE, SW and SS. The only segment that would be free would be NW and NE. It will make Boko Haram a kindergarten class.
Failure to act would lead to poaching.
I do not know how the law would look at poaching if I find cattle grazing on my property without permission and I shoot into the herd and kill a few. Who would be guilty me or the trespasser? There would be two very angry people and a fight might ensue.
A farmer who loses ten cows and their way to the market might think twice before sending down another herd to Lagos, PH, Ibadan, and Enugu.
It will be better if this problem is solved lawfully before a few human heads fall.
The hard fact is that the North produces this very much needed product which the South consumes. It will be very smart if the two sides could meet each other in a common sense solution. Rail transportation and or equipped truck distribution would be such sensible solutions.
PMB could be the savior Nigeria is looking for.
Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba, Boston, Massachusetts