NAN – The national chairman, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN), Alhaji Kiruwa Zuru, has declared support for federal government’s efforts to find a permanent solution to the recurring clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
Zuru made the declaration in an interactive session with Journalists in Birnin Kebbi on Saturday, May 7, 2016.
He was responding to the recent violence that occurred in some parts of the country that affected peaceful co-existence among communities.
He said the recent presidential directive for security agencies to deal with perpetrators of the violence was a positive development and laudable.
Zuru asserted that it was alien for the Fulani herdsmen to be carrying weapons in the country and called for the prosecution of those carrying arms.
He emphasised that herdsmen would continue to support progress and development of the nation, especially in the areas of fighting corruption, insurgency and cattle rustling.
He also said that the association was concerned about violent clashes between farmers and the unidentified arms carrying herdsmen.
“The association has resolved to support any move that would bring permanent solution to the violence between communities and herdsmen,’’ Zuru said.
He called on the Federal Government to hasten creation and demarcation of grazing reserves and cattle ranches to control the movement of the herdsmen seeking pasture for their livestock.
“In 1965, there were 485 grazing reserves out of which only 115 were functional; the remaining ones served as reserve forests.
“We urge government to hasten converting them into grazing reserves,’’ he said.
Zuru said that the Federal Polytechnic Birnin Kebbi, the state owned Sir Ahmadu Bello International Airport located in Ambursa and the Federal Capital Territory FCT Abuja were all demarcated as grazing reserves initially.
“Meanwhile, no replacement has been provided since the take-over of these reserves for development.
He lamented the incessant rustling of the herdsmen’s cattle by criminals, stressing that law abiding cattle breeders had lost an estimated 35 million Cows to cattle rustlers.
He also lamented that the perpetrators of the violent crisis in Enugu and Agatu area of Benue were yet to be identified and cautioned on the pointing of accusations at Fulani herdsmen.
“We take exception to this; we need to unequivocally establish that Fulani herdsmen are the perpetrators.
“If it is established, then, they should be prosecuted accordingly,’’ he said.
Zuru said that the association, during recent meetings with the service chiefs, called for proper investigation and intelligence gathering to identify culprits to avoid clamping down on innocent herdsmen.
He called on the federal government to enhance the quality of existing grazing reserves by providing water and posture in order to curtail the movement of the herdsmen.
He also called for the establishment of a committee consisting of all tribes that would campaign on the importance of unity and peaceful coexistence.
The chairman described the media as a veritable tool for national development and called on Journalists to always verify their facts before publication.
“Fair, balanced and objective reporting by the media will promote our unity in diversity; the absence of which will certainly polarise the nation,’’ Zuru said.