MY INTERVIEW TODAY ON AIT (12/2/21)
I was among a panel that spoke on herders/farmers crisis on the African Independent Television (AIT) today, Friday 12th February, 2021. I deem it fit to give a summary of my submissions on this burning issue.
- The ongoing herders/farmers crisis has nothing to do with religion or ethnicity because the herders brouhaha is nationwide: Sokoto, Zamfara, Enugu, Benue, Ogun, Rivers, etc. The same herders creating fear in Bauchi is the one making farmers abandon their crops in Kwara. Both the herder and farmer in places like Sokoto and Zamfara belong to the same tribe and religion yet the herder still inflicts harm on the farm. It is clear, therefore, that religion or ethnicity have no place in this crisis.
- Herdsmen have no right whatsoever to bring their cows to farmlands which do not belong to them. Farmers whose crops have been damaged by cows should be compensated by the Federal Government. This will help in dousing tension across the country.
- State governors should use their security vote to complement efforts of the federal government in ensuring law and order and dousing tension between herders and farmers. State governments should therefore help in compensating farmers whose crops have been destroyed by cows. The blame on security lapse should always be shared by both the federal and state governments instead of blaming the federal government alone all the time.
- There are good herders just as there are criminals among them. The security agents should deal with the criminal elements among them according to the laws of the land. All states should create security outfits like Amotekun to complement police efforts because Nigeria does not have enough policemen.
- State governments should enforce the ban on open grazing because it has become dangerous, anachronistic and counter-productive.
- It has been discovered that most of the herders are foreigners from Mali, Niger, Chad, etc. Nigerian immigrations should up its game and ensure that all foreign herders are sent out of the country.
- The impression that all cows belong to Northerners is misleading. Many Southerners have hundreds of cows. This includes retired generals, traditional rulers, influential politicians and other businessmen and women. They merely employ herders to take care of their cows.
- Therefore, all cow owners should be registered by CAC (like all other businesses). State governments may also wish to register cow owners within their states.
- Both the federal and state governments should give bailouts to cow owners to enable them build ranches where their cows will remain. Thereafter, cow owners should be given deadlines concerning when they should stop moving cows around the country.
- Nigerians should eschew ethnic or religious stereotyping in the ongoing herders/farmers conflict. A criminal is a criminal no matter his religious or tribal background. There are good citizens as well as bad elements in all tribes.
- We should all promote peace and stop heating the polity. We will all be losers if we go to war.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)
12th February, 2021