Herdsmen/Farmers Clashes: Govt Parading Nigerians As Bunch Of Jokers – Falana

Senior Advocate of Nigeria Femi Falana says the Federal Government of Nigeria needs to take Nigerians seriously over the crisis of herdsmen and farmers clashes which has led to the killings of many in the country.

The Lagos-based lawyer said this on Friday when he appeared as a guest on Channels Television Breakfast Programme Sunrise Daily.

“I think we are chasing the shadows, as a people and the government is simply parading Nigerians as a bunch of jokers. It is not rocket science to solve this problem.

“I am bothered when leaders come out to make statements that give the impression that we are either out to cover up serious criminality. The killing of any human being in any part of the world is a serious matter,” he said.

The issue of herdsmen and farmers clashes, Falana said is a problem Nigeria has been confronting for over five years and many have died in the process.

“We have been in this problem for five years running and nobody is addressing the problems. In 2012, according to the global terrorism index, 1,229 people were killed. In 2014, we lost about 1,300 people. Benue State alone, between 2013 and 2016, lost about 1,800 people.

“This government knew this problem before it came on board. It was part of its campaign. The government has to take Nigerians serious.”

Falana who is also a human rights activist said the phenomenon where people take cattle around the country is not Nigerian culture but a recent development. He said ranches once exist in North, West and Southern region of Nigeria and it is an important way of solving the recent herdsmen and farmers clashes in the country.

“In 1951 we had the first cattle ranch in Nigeria, in Obudu Calabar. Now it’s been converted into Obudu holiday resort. Ahmadu Bello regime in the north established the Mokwa ranch. The Obafemi Awolowo regime in the West in the 50’s established the Akunnu ranch, now in Ondo State.

“This was not our culture. Where people take cattle around the country, it is not our culture, it is a recent phenomenon. No animal was destroying anybody’s farm, until recently.

“Nobody will be wasting his time enacting anti-open grazing law if we have ranches. We don’t need to go far to learn how to keep an animal in this country. Taking cattle from Sokoto to Lagos, grazing is primitive,” he said.

READ ALSO: Killings: ‘Mischievous Politicians’ Are Worsening Situation – Police

Lamenting over the increased number of deaths due to farmers and herdsmen clashes, he said the killing of anyone, whether Fulani or Benue is criminal and should be jointly condemned by everyone.

“The right to life is the most basic fundamental right because you need to be alive to enjoy other rights. So why are we trying to single out killings by these bandits?

“Don’t talk about Benue people have been killed, Fulani people have been killed, let us agree as a nation that the killing of any citizen or foreigner in our country is an assault on our collective morality.”

Former CBN Deputy Governor Blames Food Inflation On Herdsmen-Farmers Clashes

Director, Center For Policy and Economic Research, Obadiah Malafia.

 The Former Deputy Governor of CBN and the Director, Center For Policy and Economic Research, Obadiah Malafia, has stated reasons why Nigeria is battling with inflation and increased cost of food prices attributing it Fulani-Herdsmen violent clashes, among other factors.

Speaking on Channels Television Breakfast Programme, Sunrise Daily, Malafia said the herdsmen-farmers violent clashes including rural bandit attacks has created insecurity and fright amidst rural farmers thereby impeding farming activities and reducing farming productivity.

The former CBN deputy governor said, these violent clashes has instilled fear in the heart of rural farmers who now prefer farming at areas near their homes than going to the interior farms far from their homes.

“Another factor is the herdsmen farmers clashes. It has subsided a little bit, even though several weeks ago, we had a horrible, horrific massacre of Fulanis that took place in Taraba State. Some insist it was a reprisal for what they have done in the past but from whatever source, that kind of violence is very disruptive.”

The damaging consequence of these violent attacks is sadly on the increase as Malafia pointed out that it has not received adequate government’s attention. Farmers productivity is continuously disrupted and subsequently the nation’s economic is affected.

“It destroys the social capital of the community, it destroys local productivity. In a lot of areas in the Middle Belt, farmers restrict their farming activities to areas near their home. But, the most productive farmland are in the interior, people have to go several kilometers to where the real farmlands are. People are no longer going there (the interior farms) because they are very frightened of the killings by the rural bandits and we haven’t really addressed it.”

Food scarcity according to Malafia is also caused by planting season. “The planting season is normally, March-April. So, until the crops are ready for the market, that is the peak of scarcity and high cost of food price. Generally, in Nigeria by late September up to December, food tends to be in abundance because there is a lot of harvest going on.”

The increasing rate of exchange rates is another factor Malafia identified as one of the factors contributing to inflation, stating that the farming inputs including tractors, fertilizers are imported and these are additional costs.

Revealing the monstrous effects of inflation on Nigeria economy, he said, “Having inflation rate hovering over at 16% is still extremely high. We need to wrestle down this monster to single digit and to less than 10% because when we do that, we reduce poverty.

“Inflation is a task on the poor and it discourages investments. So, for growth and a stable market economy to prevail, we need to be able to bring down inflation.”

Army Begins Inspection Of Exercise Python Dance Checkpoints

Army Begins Inspection Of Exercise Python Dance CheckpointsDeputy Director of Army Public Relations of 82 Division, Enugu, Colonel Sagir Musa and the Commandant of the 302 Artillery Regiment, Onitsha, Colonel Isa Abdullahi, have commenced inspection of activities at different check points of the ‘Exercise Python Dance’.

This is to further strengthen the commitment of the Nigerian Army to the mandate of the latest security operations in the five Southeast states.

It is also aimed at ensuring the various teams are operating within the premise of mandate, as well as ensuring that the exercise yields the desired results.

According to Mr Musa, the effect of the exercise was already manifesting, especially in the area of traffic congestion, as it had been minimized greatly at the Bridge Head axis as well as other border points where the check points of the exercise were planted.

At the boundary between Anambra and Enugu state at Amansea community on the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, vehicular movement was equally said to be smooth and uninterrupted.

The check points were well manned by vigilant eyed soldiers who passed the vehicles as they came and at the same time maintained security in the area.

On the arrival of Mr Musa and Mr Abdullahi, to inspect the mode of operation at the point, they expressed satisfaction with the level of compliance of road users.

The mandate of the exercise included but was not limited to checkmating rising waves of crime usually prevalent during the yuletide period, traffic decongestion of major highways, patrol raids, cordon and search, planting of check point and road blocks, show of force and anti-kidnapping drills among other serious violent crimes including herdsmen-farmers clashes.

At the second boundary between Anambra and Enugu state, the soldiers, properly positioned, were seen passing vehicles calmly, while motorists complied with the new set up maximally.

Reduced Gridlock

Moving out of the area, the next port of call was the Bridge Head axis where initially complaints were laid over sudden traffic congestion occasioned by the new check points.

Reacting to that, the Deputy Director of Army Public Relations, maintained that the interest of the Nigerian Army was the peace and stability of the country, and in the present exercise, it would be to ensure that the targeted challenges were reduced to barest minimum.

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Musa said, “the Nigerian Army has no other interest except one – to ensure peace, security and stability in all parts of Nigeria.

“Here like we have explained, issues of kidnapping, abduction, herdsmen-farmers clashes, cultism, and even traffic gridlock are the issues and our interest here is to ensure that these security challenges are reduced to the barest minimum.

“You can see vehicles moving left and right, so there is no congestion. In any case, there is not much stop and search operation on the road.

“Soldiers are just by the side of the road watching in case of any need for them to act. They will act professionally and decisively,” he said.

While many commended the efforts of the Nigerian army in the area of security and maintenance of orderliness on the highways brought about by their presence, others still complained of traffic congestion.

In the words of some of the citizens, “police and army are doing well, there is no problem.”

Another commuter said, “it is a welcome development because when the military men are on the road, it makes people feel safe that no thieves will attack them.

“So for me, I think it is a welcome development but I will also want to advise them to be courteous of not causing hold up.”

Musa however noted the complaints and assured citizens of necessary intervention.

Herdsmen Killing People Are Not Fulani, Minister Tells Senate

Heineken Lopobiri on herdsmenNigeria’s Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lopobiri, told the Senate on Tuesday that most of the herdsmen involved in killings and destruction of property in different communities are not Fulani.

He said some of the herdsmen arrested do not speak any Nigerian language.

Senator Lopobiri made the revelations at a Senate investigative hearing on the perennial clashes between herdsmen and farmers.

“We believe that most of those involved in the clashes between herdsmen and farmers are not necessarily the Fulani. They could be another gang of Boko Haram who may not be Nigerians,” he told the Senators.

All seats in the hall were taken and those not lucky enough to get seats had to make do with standing to take part in the public hearing, a situation that showed the importance attached to the event.

The mayhem caused by herdsmen in different communities across the country, living a long trail of death and destruction, is a problem which the lawmakers and concerned Nigerians are trying to resolve.

He made some recommendations, which he hoped would address the problem.

“The best way to solve this problem will be the creation of ranches. If we create ranches, we will provide what the Fulani man is looking for,” he said.

Some other persons that gave their opinions on the issues kicked against the enactment of grazing bill into law and stressed that the creation of cattle routes and creation of ranches should not be the business of the government, insisting that it is a private sector driven business.

While the National Assembly and the Federal Government devise plans to address the clashes between herdsmen and farmers, the National Boundary Commission is asking the government to also consider some of the agreements which Nigeria is a signatory to, such as the ECOWAS protocol on free movement which guarantees free movement in West Africa.