Governors in northern Nigeria say creating more grazing reserves would help ameliorate challenges between farmers and herdsmen in the region.
Standing from a two-day meeting in Kaduna, the region’s capital on Friday, the governors say the situation has been worsened by criminal elements who have infiltrated the region.
The northern governors also want the federal government to relinquish forest reserves to their domiciled states for better manning.
Among their resolutions is push for reconstitution of the federal character commission, federal civil service commission, and the revenue mobilization and fiscal commission.
They say the move would enable the said agencies discharge their responsibilities more effectively.
Many states had recently been in the throes of herdsmen due to a deadly resurgence of the mauruders, some of whom are believed to be of Fulani extraction.
More worrisome is the fact that some of the states being rampaged by these shepherds are in the southern part of the country as against the impression that the herdsmen are only operating in the North. States like Bayelsa, Enugu, Delta and Ondo were recently caught in the web of the carnage being perpetrated by these groups of killers.
The farm of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Olu Falae, was not left out of the carnage ressurgence, as the place was attacked again after it had earlier been attacked before the ceasation of hostilities. The re-invasion led to an exchange of gunshots between some policemen guarding Falae’s farm and the herdsmen who insisted that their cows would graze on the farm.
This had prompted the Senate to highlight the need to deal decisively with the issue, describing herdsmen attacks across the country as another form of Boko Haram. While charging security agencies to put a check on the attacks and bring the culprits to justice, the upper legislative chamber noted that the modus operandi of the herdsmen was not different from that of the Boko Haram sect, directing the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to go after the attackers. But the Senate itself is yet to take a final position on the bill that would see to the establishment of grazing reserves following its decision to suspend further deliberations on the bill after a heated debate in November 2016.
However, a pronouncement by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbe, that about 11 states are contributing hectares of land for grazing purposes might have given a ray of hope, though the controversies trailing the proposed bill and the location of the ranches are yet to abate.
States like Ekiti and Benue had promulgated edicts to outlaw the wandering activities of the herdsmen while Bayelsa and a few others have taken the matter a step further by building ranches to restrict the movement of the shepherds.
Some analysts had however argued that without enabling laws to checkmate the herdsmen, there might not be lasting peace in the country, despite the construction of ranches. The expectation of these sets of people is that, with the ranches in place, the cows straying about would have been put in confinement and such facilities would prevent the invasion of farmlands and check security breaches across the country, but the restriction of the herdsmen might be against the law that guarantees freedom of movement.
The issue had become a sore point for the Muhammadu Buhari administration to the extent that some Nigerians now wonder whether the ailing president has the political will to stop the murderous invasion of those described as his kinsmen into territories outside their home. Whether the impression is erroneuos or not is a different ball game, but the fact is that some of the herdsmen had been confirmed to be of Fulani extraction.