When Sule Lamido was the governor of Jigawa State, he provided a permanent, feasible and win-win solution to the herdsmen/farmers Crisis.
The crisis in southern Kaduna is as old as the state. The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai said that incessant killings in the southern part of the state was caused by “cycle of attacks, revenge and reprisals.” The federal government, on the other hand, said that “from available security records, the problem in Southern Kaduna is an evil combination of politically-motivated banditry, revenge killings and mutual violence by criminal gangs acting on ethnic and religious grounds.”
A report published by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in March 2017, stated that “The escalation Southern Kaduna crisis is traceable to a series of confrontations over property rights as well as the right to express and practice deeply held religious beliefs in 1981. In that year, a land dispute between Hausa traders and residents of Adara in Kachia local government area led to violent clashes which left at least a hundred homes destroyed. In 1986, a contest over the district headship of Lere in Lere LGA, when some locals were opposed to the candidature of a Muslim contestant, resulted in renewed violence. Fighting in the aftermath of a closely fought election among rival religious factions at the Ahmadu Bello University left at least 107 persons injured in Zaria. In 1992, a market relocation sparked two riots in Zangon Kataf which claimed thousands of lives. This figure has never been verified. Further ethno-religious confrontations in Kaduna North LGA which spread to Kafanchan and other towns resulted in an unspecified number of victims on the eve of Nigeria’s return to democratic rule. Protests in the wake of the state’s decision in 2000 to impose Sharia rule resulted in violence in Kaduna, Gwantu and Fadan Kagoma. The Nigeria’s hosting of the Miss World Beauty Paegent in 2002 led to protests by Muslims across Northern Nigeria. Violence in parts of Kaduna, and perhaps most infamously, politically-motivated violence in Zaria, Kaduna, Zonkwa and Kafanchan in the wake of the 2011 presidential election led to the burning of churches, mosques, homes, the Kafanchan market, and a heavy death toll. In that year, there were at least 13 separate reports of ethno-religious clashes in the state. Since 2010, there has been a steadily increasing number of violent clashes between the various groups in Kaduna”
Just like the herdsmen/farmers conflict, the southern Kaduna crisis is both an economic and environmental problem, but some politicians and few gullible Nigerians have turned it to a political one. At this moment, the crisis requires both political and socio-economic solutions. Due to demographic changes and other factors like cattle rustling, overgrazing and expanding human and cattle population, the Southern Kaduna crisis, like the herdsmen/farmers conflict, is now purely a resource war – land and access to it molded in ethno-religious form.
The Kaduna State government and indeed other states governments should copy and remodel what former Jigawa State governor Sule Lamido did, but in a manner that suit each states’ peculiarities. In most parts of Jigawa State, the then government established demarcated grazing reserves, cattle routes and water pumping windmills for herdsmen to freely nosh their herds. The grazing land is also watered frequently by the water pumping windmills for grasses to grow even during dry seasons. On the other hand, the farmers were provided with a large expanse of farmland to cultivate crops. One beauty of this is; the farmlands have a dual function- they have on them facilities for dry season farming. This dual solution, apart from promoting peaceful co-existence between farmers and herdsmen, enhances local community security, safety and development.
Another advantage of this is most of the herdsmen will not unnecessarily wander around in search of pasture and water because the windmills provide drinking water for their own use as well as for their large livestock. The multi-bladed wind pumps constantly pump water which continually irrigates the large area of the land on which lush grasses grow even during dry seasons. And finally, both herdsmen and farmers feel ownership of the land. It is disheartening that ‘novel- solution’ in Jigawa State was not sustained nor expanded upon by the current government. In fact, Jigawa needs young, urbane, a distruptor and a technocrat as governor. People like former foreign affairs minister Dr. Nuruddeen Muhammad and Mustapha Sule Lamido should resuscitate such a solution to the national problem.
The Kaduna State government should adopt such a permanent, feasible and win-win solution- by taking into consideration factors like economy, land, faith, tongue and history.
Zayyad I. Muhammad, Jimeta, Adamawa State