GOVERNORS of the seven states in Nigeria’s northwest geo-political zone have conceded that the only way to address the ongoing violence perpetuated by Fulani cattle herdsmen across the country is to establish ranches but have asked for more time to establish them.
Over recent years, herdsmen have created widespread panic across Nigeria as their cattle destroy farms and eat crops, ruining many farmers. When communities have protested against this, the heavily-armed herdsmen have attacked them with AK47s and machetes, leaving trails of destruction and devastation.
Emboldened by the failure and refusal of the government to act against them, these herdsmen have become more brazen by the day. Exasperated with the mayhem, several states have outlawed open grazing and across Nigeria, there is now a deafening call for ranches to be made compulsory, so cattle no longer roam around the countryside and in villages, towns and cities.
Most of Nigeria’s 17m Fulanis are from the northwest geo-political zone and yesterday, the seven governors from Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano and Jigawa states met with security chiefs to address the matter. At their meeting in Kaduna, the governors asked for more time to develop ranches seen to be the panacea for the raging conflict across the country.
Retired Major General Babagana Monguno, Nigeria’s national security adviser, service chiefs, and heads of other security and intelligence agencies, had met with the governors as part of a planned tour of the six geo-political zones of the country to discuss the worsening security situation. At the meeting, the security chiefs assured the governors that efforts are being intensified to arrest the worsening insecurity and they proposed another meeting to draw up a roadmap to better security in the region.
General Monguno said: “In a bid to develop a road map for peace and security in the region, it was resolved that a date for a follow-up meeting of the northwest stakeholders would be announced to fully deliberate and agree on the way forward. President Muhammadu Buhari is very worried about what is going on and he is concerned about loss of innocent lives all over the country.
What is going on in the northeast and northwest is very troubling to all of us and the president is committed to stopping this terrible situation in which we keep killing each other without regards to the other person’s right to undertake his legitimate undertaking of what choice of work he has decided to undertake. That is why we decided to take the bull by the horns with my colleague, the chief of defence staff.”
Major General Lucky Irabor, the chief of defence staff, told the gathering that the country’s security architecture is being reviewed. He said the essence of the meeting was to feel the pulse of the people and to reassure them that the federal government is not asleep in terms of security.