PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari’s administration appears to be finally coming round to the realisation that it needs to do something to curtail the activities of murderous Fulani herdsmen after presidential spokesman Mallam Garba Shehu admitted conceded that their movement needs to be checked.
Over recent years, the herdsmen have operated with total impunity, attacking villages, churches and communities with total disregard for the security forces. Many victims of the attacks, say the herdsmen are so brazen because they believe they have the backing of President Buhari, himself a native Fulani who keeps cattle.
President Buhari’s body language has appeared to embolden the herdsmen and its body the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (Macban). However, Mallam Shehu said that there was need to stop herdsmen from roaming all over the country to prevent clashes with farmers.
Mallam Shehu was responding to the allegation that President Muhammadu Buhari was grabbing lands to dole out to herdsmen. This allegation was made by a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Katch Ononuju, who said the government did not care about the lives of its citizens, hence, the continued kidnappings, killings and clashes between farmers and herders.
However, Mallam Shehu blamed the actions of the herdsmen on the drying of grazing lands across northern Nigeria. He denied talk that President Buhari planned to take land from other Nigerians and hand it over to Fulanis.
Mallam Shehu said: “This country has a grazing problem because the herders are mostly Fulani. The challenge is from these places they had practiced, you know, the encroachment by desert leading to drying up of a lot of grazing lands in the northern-most parts of the country.
“This has put pressure on the herders who have been looking to the southwest green grass so that their cattle will eat and also have water to drink. It is a global climate situation which is unfortunate considering what has happened along the Lake Chad basin.
“I’m glad that governors of the north are coming together to say let us resolve this problem of grazing because we have to stop these herders from roaming and eating up our crops all over the country. They drive their cattle into farmlands and eat up the crops and the farmers fight back and the killings follow.
“The country cannot continue in this way. The president has no plan to fish for a land other than the one he has inherited from.”