By Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has called on the National Assembly to as a matter of urgency make laws that will address issues of grazing reserves and cattle routes nation wide.
MACBAN’s National Secretary, Baba Othman Ngelzarma, who stated this at the weekend, said this would go a long way in resolving the seemingly intractable clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
He said the most recent clashes in Agatu axis was part of the chain of provocative attacks by the Agatus against Fulani herdsmen and their cattle and reprisal attack by the Fulani against the Agatu militia.
He said: “The Fulani herdsmen are peace loving people who are desirous of living in a sustained peaceful atmosphere and with their neighbours and host communities. They are also always prepared to pay damages done to any farmland by their cattle, regardless of whether the said damage was deliberate or not.
“Unfortunately, the Fulani herdsmen have suffered huge number of human and livestock losses; their gazing routes have been destroyed; they have been blocked from accessing banks of the Benue River, the source of water for their cattle during dry season; their cattle are rustled in thousands; and their leaders and youth attacked and often killed in cold blood.”
According to him, since 2012, the Fulanis had been suffering from all sorts of attacks from Agatu militias.
“Even when the Fulanis decided to move further into Nasarawa State, the Agatus pursued and attacked them with impunity,” he added.
He said the menace of cattle rustling in which he alleged that the Agatu youth also took part was threatening the fabric of the society, adding that the problem must be tackled head-on.
MACBAN therefore said the Agatu crisis should be handled with high sense of responsibility and statesmanship by setting up a high powered panel made up of Agatus, Fulani herdsmen, the Nasarawa and Benue State governments under the Inspector General of Police to look into the immediate and remote causes of the crisis and proffer a lasting solution.
The group further asked that the federal government to expedite action in coming out with policies and practical measures that would address the Fulani herdsmen/farmers conflict in a holistic manner.