A coalition of cattle breeders’ associations in Nigeria have accused President Muhammadu Buhari of failure to address their challenges, leaving them exposed to victimization with hundreds of their members killed and their cattle rustled.
The coalition of pastoralists association is made up of members of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Tabital Pulaaku International, Nigeria chapter and Fulbe Global Dev. And Rights Initiatives (FGDRI).
Members of the group raised the alarm over the upsurge of violence and what they called ethnic cleansing of pastoral communities in parts of the country, a development they said seemed to be well organized and orchestrated by ethnic bigots who want to continue the ethnic wars. They also complained that while over N500 billion was spent on agronomy under Buhari’s watch, nothing was spent on livestock.
“We have never had it so bad like when Buhari is in government. This is the worst ever for the Nigerian pastoralist. We have never had it so bad like this time,” national president of MACBAN, Baba Othman Ngelzarma said while addressing journalists at a press conference on the recent security challenges in some states.
Vice president of Tabital Pulaaku International, Nigeria chapter Alh. Auwal Gonga, said the Buhari-led administration failed to address the many issues responsible for the increased cattle herders/farmers crisis because it refused to hold a stakeholders’ engagement.
“The biggest mistake this government made is failure to engage stakeholders. Buhari has never called us! We are here. We have intellectuals, professors and former ministers as our members. Why can’t Buhari call them to engage them? You just allow people to do what they like? I think it’s wrong for that government; and that’s why they have failed.
“If you are a president and you know what you are doing, you are the one to coordinate things. Unfortunately, our brother Buhari has failed us,” Gonga stated. President-general of FGDRI, Dr. Salim Musa Umar who stated that their members are worse hit in the recent crisis between herders and farmers across the country, said in Plateau State alone, 300 herders and their families were killed; over thousands displaced.
While the coalition is confident that in-coming administration Benue State will address the issues of the farmer/herders’ conflict holistically, it stated that the last six years of Governor Samuel Ortom rule had exacerbated the lack of trust between the various communities in Benue. The group assured the incoming administration in the state that “we will cooperate with it in bringing lasting peace in the food basket of Nigeria.”
Umar said the dastardly action of killing of herders must be stopped as those killed were on the age-old stock route that had been there for hundreds of years that enabled pastoralists movement from the Northern parts of Kebbi and Sokoto to the southern part of the country.
The coalition used the opportunity to call on the incoming administration Bola Ahmed Tinubu to change tactics, engage stakeholders and find a last solution to the lingering issues for national peace and coexistence.
“We are calling on the new government to change strategy and tactics; create a ministry of livestock. That ministry can take care of all those problems. But you are there in the villa giving order to the police to handle the problem,” Gonga said.