Herdsmen Have Chased us from Our Homes, Farms, Plateau Community Cries Out

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Seriki Adinoyi in Jos

Ron/Kulere Community of Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State has raised the alarm over the exploit of herdsmen in the area who have allegedly destroyed 1,017 houses and vast farmland, forcing the locals to abandon at least 12-kilometre land space.

Addressing a press conference in Jos thursday, the spokesman of the community, Mr. Makut Daniel Macham, lamented that with the return of the rainy season, his people were expected to return to their farms, but they cannot do so for fear that they could be attacked by the herdsmen.

As immediate measure to tackle the insecurity, Macham urged government to deploy more security personnel to the area to enable his people go back to their farms.

He also called for the establishment of state police, which he said would assist the existing security architecture.
Macham also called for the adaption of livestock alimentation practice as panacea to the rampant herders’ attacks on farmers’ crops in Nigeria.

He said: “We are very sad to note that even the country security chiefs, the chief law enforcers of the federation as well as the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, President Buhari have merely attempted to define the attacks; attributing it to some primordial and proprietary claims.

“We consider such level of posturing by key officials of the governance structure of the federation as a sub-teranean, nay direct way of stoking the crisis and allowing it to continue to fester rather than pushing for a credible incentive-based framework for resolution.
“No doubt, governments at every level and many other stakeholders have called for an end to the herders-farmers conflict i n Nigeria through the establishment of grazing reserves, cattle ranches and the suggestion for cattle colonies. These measures as appealing as they may seem, have shown from research to have long-term negative effects, especially in a complex multi-ethnic society like ours.

“It is noteworthy that grazing reserves that were basically introduced in the 1960s have turned out as stop-gap initiatives. Ranching which appears popular, requires a stocking density of two cows per hectare. In other words, a normal ranch should have not more than two cows in one hectare (that is, 10,000 square metres or 2 football fields).”

He observed: “After deep reflection and a review of experiences livestock herders and crop farmers in other climes, we have come to a conclusion that livestock alimentation practice is the safest and most effective approach to resolving the attacks of herders on crop farmer in Nigeria.

“In simple terms, livestock alimentation practice involves a system of keeping animals within a confined space, and providing them with adequate nutritional and medical care without having to expose them to open grazing in the country side for pasture.

“The proposed alimentation practice seeks to replicate the existing practices in poultry farming for cows, pigs, goats, and sheep among others. This will require a transformation of the existing cattle paddocks otherwise known as hoggo in Fulfulde or shinge in Hausa to feedlots. The alimentation practice or feedlot system of cattle breeding was successfully employed to resolve Tutsi/Hutu genocide in Rwanda.

“The proposed policy has a strong potential to rouse a symbiosis between livestock herders and crop farmers as well as spur the emergence of a new economy at the grassroots.

In pursuing the livestock alimentation practice, Macham said government at every level would need to develop livestock-specific financing scheme and also provide subsidies as is done elsewhere in the world for agriculture. In addition, livestock-specific infrastruct ure would need to be put in place value chains in livestock breeding.

He added that massive public awareness campaign on livestock alimentation practice was required for the policy being advocated to be a success.