Ban Foreign Herders, Ganduje, Ortom Tell FG

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The Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje and his counterpart in Benue State, Mr. Samuel Ortom has called on the federal government to ban foreign herdsmen in the country.

Speaking yesterday on Radio France International, Ganduje insisted that it is the foreign Fulani herders that commit crimes.

“There are three categories of Fulani. There are Fulani; there are herders and their foreign Fulani herders who commit crimes.

“It is often forgotten that there are foreigners among those Fulani herders but nobody is talking about them. The moment a foreign Fulani herder infiltrated into Nigeria and committed a crime, he would be considered as Nigerian Fulani. Therefore, it is high time to ban them from entering Nigeria.

“Secondly, those herders travelling from the north to south should be banned from doing so. Those that are saying they should not be banned from trekking to the southern part of the country for grazing should use their children to do so.

‘’This is a national issue. A robust bill by National Assembly is the only answer to the issue of farmer/herder conflict,’’ Ganduje said. He also faulted the recent comment credited to the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai on the security situation in the North-West region.

El-Rufai had reportedly told the BBC Hausa service that lack of synergy among governors of the North-West was hampering security efforts in the region.

But Ganduje argued that El-Rufai might not understand the security efforts put in place by the governors of the area.

According to Ganduje, security agencies in the country had advised Kano, Kaduna and Bauchi States to collaborate and check security challenges in the notorious Falgore forest in Tudun Wada and Doguwa LGAs of Kano State.

“The issue of lack of synergy does not arise in this context because security agencies have advised us to come and meet with Kano, Kaduna and Bauchi states to see how the activities of bandits in Falgore forest could be contained.

“I intimated both governors of Kaduna and Bauchi. Both had sent their delegations.

“There was the issue of the fund. Kano, Kaduna and Bauchi had all donated their funds and the exercise was eventually successful.

”The way I see it, the Governor did not understand security issues well because the security situation depends on the nature of a state. For instance, no matter how we strongly collaborate as governors, how should we check ethnic clashes in Kaduna? How should we check religious differences in Kaduna? You see, this is a problem that can only be checked by the Kaduna State government itself.

“Therefore, any security issue in a state depends on the efforts of the state government, the federal government, the security agencies and the people of the state.

”For instance, in Kano, we have a harmonious working relationship with security agencies. We have state-of-the-art security gadgets. In Dansoshiya forest, we are building houses to accommodate Fulani herders in a bid to stop them from grazing in the southern parts of the country.

“In Falgore forest, there is an ongoing project of a military training camp. In the project, there is a provision for areas where Fulani herders would be accommodated.

“We have enough places to accommodate Fulani herders in Dansoshiya and Falgore forests. To restrict them into those places in order to prevent them from grazing in the southern part of the country is the only panacea to the lingering crises.

Speaking in a media briefing in Abuja yesterday, Ortom called on President Muhammadu Buhari to push for a review of the ECOWAS protocol for movement of persons, goods and services within the sub-region.

The Benue State governor argued that foreign herders were taking undue advantage of the protocol to fuel insecurity in Nigeria.

“In neighbouring countries like Ghana and Benin, people are properly profiled before they are allowed into the county. People coming into Nigeria have to be properly profiled before they are allowed in. It is there in the ECOWAS protocol, I have studied it, I have my lawyers to also study it.

“Most of the herdsmen killing our people are not even Nigerians, even the president himself said this during his visit to the United Arab Emirates.”

On the implementation of the law prohibiting open grazing in Benue State, Ortom said, “The legislation we have in place in Benue is responsible for the relative peace we are enjoying

“We have arrested and prosecuted over 400 herdsmen since the law came into effect. We have had 150 convictions. Some convicts were fined and released, others are still in Makurdi Correctional Centre.”