Three Confirmed Dead As Farmers And Herders Clash In Jigawa

US Condemns Killings In Nigeria, Calls For Prosecution Of Suspects
File photo of an aftermath scene of a clash between farmers and herdsmen.

 

Three persons are reported to have been killed on Saturday following a violent clash between farmers and herders in Guri Local Government Area of Jigawa State.

The Local Government Chairman, Barkono Jaji-Adiyani who confirmed the incident to journalists, said he witnessed the funeral of all the deceased.

Also, the Local Government Information officer, Sunusi Doro, added that the clashed occurred when a resident of Arin community was attacked and badly injured by some Fulani men who blocked him in a bush path.

He said the incident resulted to a violent clash between the already tense farmers and herders communities.

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He said all the victims are residents of Adiyani, a Kanuri dominated farming community.

The official identified the deceased as Muhammadu Baushe, Maigida Kolo, he said one other victim is yet to be identified by name.

However, when contacted the police Public relation officer in the state, SP Abdu Jinjiri said they are yet to receive a proper report from the police division in Guri Local Council.

Kaduna Govt Builds Grazing Reserve To Tackle Herders, Farmers’ Crisis


 

The Kaduna State government has flagged off the construction of cattle grazing settlements and milk farm project at Damau in Kubau Local Government Area of the state.

Governor Nasir El-Rufai announced this on Saturday at the ground-breaking ceremony of the proposed milk farm in Damau, saying the settlement has a capacity to accommodate 1,000 cattle farmers.

He explained that the project, being executed in collaboration with the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association and a Danish dairy firm, Arla, was aimed at mitigating the incessant conflicts between herders and farmers in the state.

The governor believes the project, apart from being a pragmatic and sustainable solution to security challenges that accompany nomadic livestock production, will help expand Nigeria’s capacity in the production of high-quality milk and reduce overdependence on the importation of dairy products.

 

He added that the goal was to develop a world-class grazing reserve that would aid in centralising the activities of herders in the community.

Governor El-Rufai also gave an assurance that the reserve would help to ensure maximum economic benefits were derived from the cows through the use of their many products to boost revenue generation.

Over the years, the incessant conflicts between herders and farmers across the country have continued to pose a major security concern to citizens and the government at various levels.

In Kaduna, the competition over scarce natural resources such as land, water, and pasture, as well as the conflicts that follow informed the government’s decision to settle the herders in one community.

 

A memorandum of understanding for the project was signed on September  9, 2019, with Arlan expected to provide the commercial services while the state government would provide the land to use.

This is in addition to other basic amenities such as primary healthcare facility, veterinary clinic, police post, and a market place to make life comfortable for the pastoralists.

As part of its responsibilities, the government has developed about 89km of road in Kubau LGA to help farmers transport their farm produce easily.

Appeal Court Overrules Sharia Court Over Herders Eviction In Jigawa

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An appeal court sitting in Dutse, the Jigawa State capital on Tuesday, overruled an eviction order for herders’ settlement by an Upper Sharia Court.

The appeal was filed by Muhammad Jingi, a resident of Fagam District, Gwaram Local Government Area, through his counsels Baffa Alhassan and Hafizu Abubakar.

Both men provided free legal services to the evicted herders.

The respondent was the District Head of Fagam, Auwalu Adamu, who earlier instituted the case in the Sharia court claiming Mr Jingi’s land settlement after the latter failed to renew his annual settlement dues.

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Previously, the Sharia Court sitting in Gwaram ruled in favour of the District Head, ordered the herders to vacate their settlement in Fagam District.

Delivering the lead judgement, which was adopted by one other judge Abubakar Sambo, Justice Umar Sadiq held that the upper Sharia Court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain such matter.

The judge stated further that “all the five Emirate Councils in Jigawa State were the creation of the law.”

In the verdict, Justice Sadiq said, “in the result, the trial by the Gwaram Upper Sharia Court without jurisdiction has hereby voided the decision and the consequential order are hereby set aside, the appeal succeeds.”

After the court session, the appellant lawyer, Hafizu Abubakar, said the judgement is well delivered and justice was served by the judgement.

“The court as we rightly complained declared that the upper Sharia Court has no jurisdiction to entertain the case and the claimant has no right over the land he claimed,” he said.

The respondent’s lawyer, Fa’izu King, however, said although the judgement is against his client, “I can’t say we’re going to appeal or not considering the well-delivered judgement.”

He concluded that “We’re going to study the record and decide on the next step,”

One Killed As Farmers, Herders Clash In Jigawa

 

One person has been killed as farmers clashed with herders at Iggi Village in Bininkudu Local Government Area of Jigawa State in North-West Nigeria.

The Commissioner of Police in the state, Bala Zama, confirmed this to reporters on Thursday in Dutse, the state capital.

According to him, the clash broke out as a result of a dispute over the ownership of land between the herdsmen and indigenous farmers around Iggi forest.

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The Chairman of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association in Jigawa, Mr Sa’idu Gagarawa, at confirmed the incident to Channels Television.

He explained that the incident was a reprisal after two Fulanis were severely beaten by farmers from Dagalma community.

Gagarawa said, ”Two Fulani men were found soak in blood after being beaten by the farmers, and that is what prompted some Fulani youths to embark on a reprisal which resulted in the unfortunate death of one person.”

“The dispute on the grazing land assigned to the Fulanis for several years has been resolved by the community leaders only for the farmers to rekindle the issue now,” he claimed.

But a relative of the victim who pleaded for anonymity said the herders attacked the indigenes whenever they were on their way to their farms.

He said, ”Before we can reach our farms we have to cross a river and usually when we are on our way back home, they stop us and cease what we are bringing back home.

“If you resist, they would shoot you.”

Disregard NEF’s Unauthorized Quit Order, Buhari Tells Herders

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has enjoined all Nigerians to ignore the recent call by the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) to Fulani herders, asking them to leave the southern part of Nigeria.

“All citizens of Nigeria are free to move and live within any part of the country they please, whether or not they are originally from there.

“In line with our country’s constitution, the government of Nigeria and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will protect citizens of Nigeria wherever they find themselves.

“No one has the right to ask anyone or group to depart from any part of the country, whether north, south, east or west,” the President said.

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In a statement on behalf of the President, the Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu questioned the intentions of the NEF and the other so-called leaders in delving into issues with unsolicited, ill-intentioned advice.

“They have no one’s authority to make such pronouncements.

“The polarising role of the Northern Elders Forum and all those other groups dabbling into issues of security to score cheap political points has for long been a sore point in Nigeria’s body polity.

“They should not be allowed to mislead anyone, least of all the Fulani herders.

“The Buhari administration is fully devoted to finding a lasting solution to the herder-farmer clashes in different parts of Nigeria- one that would be acceptable to all the parties involved.”

The President, therefore, calls on all Nigerians to help keep the peace in the country.

Benue Youths Protest Planned Ruga Settlement For Herdsmen

Benue youths during the protest

 

Youths from various Benue communities including Zaki-Biam in Ukum local council, Otobi in Otukpo local government on Friday trooped out to protest against the planned Ruga Farm settlement in the state.

The youths claim that the planned Ruga settlement for herders violates Open Grazing Law in the state and will instigate violent clashes between farmers and herders in the state.

President, Benue Youth Congress, Orngu Angu during the protest argued that the proposed Ruga settlement is an anomaly and the youths in Benue State will not allow it.

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“We are out marching on Benue streets this morning to protest the said plan of the Federal Government of Nigeria to establish Ruga settlement in Benue State.

“Benue State has recorded a lot of herdsmen crisis. When we heard the establishment of Ruga – for herdsmen to come and settle with us! We are out here this morning to say that we reject this.

“Our stand has remained on ranching. Benue State has a bill that says all herdsmen should ranch their cattle, anything short of that is an anomaly, and we Benue youths reject this,” Angu said.

The signage of the proposed Ruga project in Otobi community.

 

In Otobi community where the proposed Ruga project signage has been erected, the community leaders and the youths have sent a protest letter to the state government. The letter was received by the Otukpo local government chairman, Mr George Alli.

Alli while receiving the letter said the message is well received and will be sent to the state government.

He also stated that it is the duty of the state government to give land out to people coming to settle in their state and claimed that the Ruga project signage was erected without approval from the state government.

“All lands belong to the state government, it is only the state government that has the right to give land to whoever it pleases. The locals are have trusted the state government with the lands.

“We maintain that Ruga settlement is a law against open grazing in Benue State. If anybody wants to ranch, they should go to the state government. The state government will show them where they should go for ranching. They cannot come and point where they want to ranch,” Alli said.

A community leader from Otobi community in Otukpo local council, Ocheme Simon warns against any attempt to forcibly take their land for Ruga project, according to him, this will breed violence.

Leaders from Ukum local government also joined their voices with the youths during the protest. They called for an end to the proposed ruga settlement.

They lamented that Benue State have suffered heavy casualty from herdsmen related crisis and they are not ready to cede their land for Ruga settlement.

See more photos from the protest below…

Increasing Demand For Beef Offers Rewards, Risks For Nigeria’s Pastoralists – Report

Herdsmen along with their cows wait for buyers at Kara Cattle Market in Lagos, Nigeria, on April 10, 2019. Kara cattle market, Lagos is one of the largest of West Africa receiving thousands of cows weekly due to the massive consumption of meat in Lagos area. PHOTO: LUIS TATO / AFP

 

With over 200 million people and an emerging middle class, Nigeria is witnessing a boom in demand for meat that offers potential but also risks for the semi-nomadic herders who provide most of its beef.

According to government estimates, Nigeria, consumes 360,000 tonnes of beef each year, accounting for half of all West Africa.

In per-capita terms, consumption is low compared with advanced economies, but it is growing fast, and expected to quadruple by 2050.

Today, most of the demand is met by pastoralists from the ethnic Fulani group, who follow time-honoured techniques of raising cattle, driving them south to pastures and taking them to market.

During the dry season, the herders come down from the arid Sahel to the fertile plains of central and southern Nigeria, seeking water and pasture for their livestock.

Tensions

The millennia-old activity has been thrust into the spotlight in recent years because of worsening confrontations with sedentary farmers over access to land and water.

Clashes have claimed 7,000 lives over the past five years and cost the Nigerian economy $13 billion (11.57 billion euros) annually, according to a report in May by the NGO Mercy Corps.

The friction has roots dating back more than a century. Droughts, population growth, the expansion of sedentary farming into communal areas but also poor governance have all played a role.

Such neglect has pastoralists feeling isolated, according to Ibrahim Abdullahi, secretary of Gafdan, a national union of herders.

“Nothing was done to implement the grazing reserves designed by the law in the 1960s — most of the land has been sold and is now cultivated by farmers who grow crops,” he said.

Nomadic herders also find themselves far from the channels of the meat trade, while many markets and outdoor slaughterhouses lack basic sanitary conditions, such as running water, animal shelters and cold storage rooms, he said.

“At all the levels of government, the livestock sector was always marginalised in favour of agriculture. Some states still allocate less than two percent of their budget to livestock,” he added.

Opportunity

As Nigerians clamour for meat, can this ancient practice — with its long supply chains, climate risks and social tensions — compete against sedentary farming, which has high productivity and lower risks?

Jimmy Smith, director of the Institute for International Research on Livestock Farming (ILRI), based in Nairobi, argues that the system can not only survive but also flourish — in the right conditions.

“Pastoralism has been established for millennia — in the past, we’ve seen it’s a very efficient system if you look at the input/output relationship. Very little is invested, but a reasonable amount is harvested,” he told AFP.

This model can prosper if the right support is put in place, he said.

“For example, it is possible to grow more forage and grain in sub-humid zones to create and develop feed markets for livestock-based in northern areas, where it’s dry.”

“One animal which can give two litres (3.6 pints) of milk today could give 10 litres in the future.”

The government is mulling several plans to boost cattle raising and ease tensions over access to land.

They include initiatives for the creation of “cattle colonies” — dedicated areas where pastoralists can graze their animals and have access to veterinary and other care.

But these schemes are expensive and have already drawn flak from Nigerian states, which oppose handing over land for this use.

Another idea, for encouraging ranching, is doubted by agricultural experts. They point to a long list of past failures, during the French and British colonial period, to set up high-productivity “modern farms” in West Africa.

Imports

Nigeria has considerable livestock — nearly 20 million cattle, 40 million sheep and 60 million goats — but about 30 per cent of slaughtered animals are purchased from abroad, mainly from neighbouring Cameroon, Chad, Mali and Niger.

Often the herds are driven for hundreds of kilometres (miles) to be sold at border markets like Illela, a trading post between Niger and Nigeria.

The animals are then trucked to the cities, where they are sold again, slaughtered and butchered.

“As it is now, there’s no way Nigeria can produce all the meat and the milk it needs for its growing population,” said Smith.

“A significant proportion of animal source food demand will most likely continue to be met by importation.”

Nigeria’s hunger for meat is likely to be replicated across Africa if expectations of population and income rise hold true.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates the continent will experience a doubling in consumption of beef, pork and chicken between 2015 and 2050.

With most of the meat consumed in Africa still coming from pastoralism, Smith said, “All we need is to modernise it.”

AFP

Herders-Farmers Clash: Top 6 Claims From New Report By Amnesty International

Amnesty International New Report
Amnesty International’s New Report Suggests That Over 2000 Persons Have Been Killed Following Clashes Between Herders And Farmers in 2018 Alone.

An international human rights group, Amnesty International (Amnesty) has released a new report which suggests that negligence on the part of the Nigerian government in the herders-farmers clashes across the nation, has led to the death of over 3000 Nigerians. 

Amnesty International alleged in its new report that the deaths recorded could have been avoided or mitigated if the government was not lax about investigating communal clashes and bringing perpetrators to justice.

In a recent report, both the Nigerian government and the army were accused of contributory negligence.

Below are 6 major claims made by the rights agency.

1. Methodology

Amnesty International says it has been monitoring the clashes and documenting its violent eruption since January 2016.

According to the group, the report was put together by research which included 10 field trips, visits to 56 villages in 5 states and interviewing about 262 persons. The group says it has analysed 230 documents and 566 audio-visuals.

2. Crisis Stems From Scarcity Of Resources

According to the report by Amnesty, the turbulence began between farmers and herders due to “scarcity of and competition for resources, mainly land, water, and pasture”.

3. Over 2000 Killed In 2018 Alone

In 2018 alone, over 2000 people have died from clashes between herders and farmers, says the report by Amnesty International. It noted that within the space of 3 years, at least 3,641 had taken place owing to this communal clashes.

4. Weapons of Assault

AK-47s, G3s, locally made guns, rocket launchers, and machetes were used in the clashes says the report by Amnesty. The report also listed the makers and manufacturing dates of ammunition casings found in the field.

5. Alleged Poor Government Response

While the report acknowledges that the Buhari-led government ensured the setting up of a committee headed by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, Amnesty claimed that the government did not take extra initiatives to curb the menace.

The committee headed by the VP was tasked with visiting all communities affected by the crisis to better understand how to “ameliorate the sufferings of the people in those areas and resettle them,” however, the communique claimed that beyond issuing statements and addressing the attacks after they have happened, “not enough is being done by the Federal and State governments to bring those reasonably suspected of involvement in crimes to justice”.

Amnesty further claimed that despite calls to address the “widespread cycle of impunity, only a few measures have been taken to bring perpetrators to account”.

6. Failure of Security Operatives 

The report also went on to assert that a couple of the attacks would have been avoided if the security operatives played their roles accordingly. It cited cases where operatives were withdrawn just before attacks took place.

There were also claims of police collecting money from villagers and still not arresting attackers.

Issues of human rights violations were also raised against security operatives with some major jibes taken at the Nigerian army.

However, both the Nigerian army and then the government have expressed complete disapproval of the latest report by Amnesty International.

The Nigerian army accused Amnesty International of working to destabilise the country.

In a statement on Monday by the Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman, the military alleged that the human rights group has deviated from the core values, principles and objectives of the global organisation.

He said, “This is noted through the fabrication of fictitious allegations of alleged human rights abuses against the Nigerian security forces and clandestine sponsorship of dissident groups to protest, as well as unfounded allegations against the leadership of the Nigerian military.

“They have tried over the years using Boko Haram terrorists’ conflicts, Islamic Movement in Nigeria, some activists and now herders-farmers conflicts.”

In a similar vein, the Nigerian Government also accused Amnesty International of bias in its coverage of happenings in the country, especially as it relates to security matters.

The Presidency through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, decried the role of the organisation in the war against terrorism in the North East.

According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari cherishes the standards on which Amnesty International similar institutions are founded.

He, however, alleged that the operations of the organisation in the country appeared to be aimed at frustrating the efforts of the military.

Farmers-Herders Clash: Amnesty International Accuses Nigerian Govt Of Impunity, Says 3,641 Killed Since 2016

Farmers-Herders Clash: Amnesty International Accuses Nigerian Govt Of Impunity, Says 3,641 Killed Since 2016

 

Amnesty International has accused the Nigerian Government of impunity in the way it has been handling killings of innocent citizens in parts of the country.

The Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, made the allegation in her remarks at the launch of the report by the organisation on Monday in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

“The Nigerian government has displayed what can only be described as gross incompetence and has failed in its duty to protect the lives of its population and end the intensifying conflict between herders and farmers,” she was quoted as saying on the organisation’s website.

“The authorities’ lethargy has allowed impunity to flourish and the killings to spread to many parts of the country, inflicting greater suffering on communities who already live in constant fear of the next attack.”

She condemned the inaction of the government which she said has worsened the situation in the country.

According to the organisation, the government’s failure to investigate communal clashes and bring perpetrators to justice has fuelled “a bloody escalation” in the conflict between farmers and herders.

READ ALSO: Presidency Accuses Amnesty International Of ‘Bias, Inaccuracies’

It said this resulted in at least 3,641 deaths in the past three years and the displacement of thousands more.

In the new report entitled, “Harvest of Death: Three Years of Bloody Clashes Between Farmers and Herders”, Amnesty International said 57 per cent of the 3,641 recorded deaths occurred in 2018.

It alleged that security forces were often positioned close to the attacks, which lasted hours and sometimes days, yet were slow to act.

The organisation also accused the security agencies of receiving prior warning of an imminent raid in some cases but did nothing to stop or prevent the killings.

“Our research shows that these attacks were well planned and coordinated, with the use of weapons like machine guns and AK-47 rifles,” Ojigho added.

Farmers-Herders Clash: Amnesty International Accuses Nigerian Govt Of Impunity, Says 3,641 Killed Since 2016
A file photo of the Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho.

 

“Yet, little has been done by the authorities in terms of prevention, arrests and prosecutions, even when information about the suspected perpetrators was available.”

Amnesty International explained that it started documenting clashes between farmers and herders from January 2016, stressing that researchers conducted 10 field trips to 56 villages in five states between August 2017 and September 2018.

The report, according to it, is based on 262 interviews with victims, eyewitnesses, community leaders, medical practitioners, religious leaders and government officials, including members of the security forces.

It, however, asked the Federal Government to ensure thorough, effective and impartial investigations and prosecution of any person, including members of security forces who perpetrated abuses or deliberately ignored attacks in some states.

The states listed in the report include Abia, Adamawa, Anambra, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Kaduna, Kogi, Oyo, Plateau, Taraba and Zamfara among others.

Presidency Tags Killings As Attempt To 'Create A War'
A file photo of a community deserted by residents after suspected herdsmen invasion.

 

The organisation insisted that the findings of the investigations must be made public.

It also advised the government to urgently domesticate the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons into the national laws.

It recommended further that the full and effective implementation of the Convention must be ensured.

On the underlying causes of the crisis, it asked the government to ensure the farmers and herders enjoy their human rights, including rights to land, water and pasture, which were at the heart of the crisis.

“To manage and deal with communal tension, the Nigerian authorities must ensure that areas designated as grazing reserves, corridors and cattle routes are not encroached upon.

“This should include adopting a past system, where people were appointed and stationed at or close to the reserves to make it easy to monitor and manage these areas and prevent encroachment by farmers,” the report stated.

Amnesty International called for the provision of adequate relief such as protection, shelter, food, and healthcare for those displaced as a result of the crisis while the victims should be provided with adequate compensation

Among other recommendations, it said police personnel should be equipped and trained in modern policing techniques compatible with international human rights standards to effectively deal with the current challenges in the country.

It said individual commanders should be investigated and prosecuted for attacks in areas where troops under their command were stationed, especially where there was evidence that they failed to act to stop the attacks.