Farmer / Livestock Conflicts: ECOWAS must restrict the movement of foreign livestock farmers



… advocates “commercial grazing”

James Ogunnaike

ABEOKUTA – The governor of the state of Kano, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, called on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to take drastic steps in combating foreign shepherds who have always been armed with sophisticated weapons since the invasion of Nigeria.

The Governor of the State of Kano issued the invitation on Tuesday while speaking at a stakeholder meeting on the farmers / livestock conflict, organized by the Ogun State Government, held at the Obas, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta complex.

He also advocated what he described as a “commercial herd” as a remedy for the ongoing clashes of livestock and farmers in the country.

Ganduje reiterated his call on the federal government to ban open grazing and block grazing roads from the northern to the southern part of the country.

He noted that livestock farmers would have to abandon “traditional grazing” and embrace “commercial grazing” in order to find a lasting solution to the killings and reckless destruction of property that marked the country’s farmers / herders conflicts.

Parje was also attended by Governor Bello Muhammed Matawalle (Zamfara), Abubakar Sanni Bello (Niger), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi) and Rotimi Akeredolu (Ondo).

The meeting was equally attended by traditional rulers, representatives of the Association of All Nigerian Farmers (AFAN), the Association of Livestock Breeders Miyetti Allah of Nigeria (MACBAN) and other relevant stakeholders.

Ganduje acknowledged that climate change is responsible for the influx of livestock into the country from neighboring countries, arguing that open grazing is no longer sustainable and realistic, especially in the conflict between livestock and farmers.

He said the investigation showed that the herders were desolate foreigners entering the country illegally via Niger in the north and the Republic of Benin in the south.

Although he noted that demanding the eviction of Fulani herders from the southern part of the country could not resolve the crisis, the governor called for a strong resolution mechanism to end the conflict.

Supporting Ganduje, the other governors present called for a ban on open grazing by cattle breeders and advocated for livestock breeding.

They determined the need for a collective solution to cattle breeders and their sponsors, who, according to them, continued to separate the conflicts between farmers and legal cattle breeders in the country.

In their remarks, the president of the state of Ogun in AFAN and the national president of MACBAN, Segun Dasaolu and Muhammed Kirowa, promised to work together and hunt down criminals using the name of the association to commit chaos in the state.

Also speaking, Sarikin Fulani of Ogun State and MACBAN Zone Chairman Muhammed Kabir Labar revealed that since the beginning of the conflict in the state, his association has lost 23 members, over 1,000 cows, while 20 houses belonging to Fulani herders have been burned.

He noted that Ogun remains the best place to do business, saying we would “team up with the government to overcome the security challenge”, adding that “the perpetrators of these crimes are from neighboring countries”.

Earlier in his address, the governor of the state of Ogun, Dapo Abiodun, stated that his administration will not hesitate to deal with any group of people who inflame the heat of discord in the state.

He explained that the stakeholder party had become imperative in finding a solution to the farmers / livestock conflicts, saying that the parli must come up with tactical recommendations to end the conflict.

Abiodun, however, revealed that his administration has deployed a Special Working Group that will be constantly in problematic locations.

He thanked the governors for complying with the state’s invitation, expressing hope that the pariahs would help find lasting solutions to the conflict between farmers and livestock farmers.