Following the increasing spate of farmers-herders clashes in some parts of the country, FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has called on farmers and herdsmen in the nation’s capital to continue living in peace, by showing understanding and love for one another.
Bello made this call while speaking to representatives of farmers, herders, traditional rulers and vigilante groups, at the palaces of the Ona of Abaji and Esu of Kwali, in the two Area Councils.
The minister spoke through Secretary FCT Social Development Secretariat, Oladimeji Ali-Hassan, who doubles as Chairman of a committee for the prevention of herders-farmers clashes in the FCT, explained that the administration was being proactive to maintaining peace in the Territory.
“Farmers and herders have lived together in peace and harmony for many years, but recent events have necessitated this advocacy and sensitization, so this is intended to forestall any crisis involving the two groups.
“We are here so that we can tap from the wisdom of our respected traditional rulers and other stakeholders in sustaining the prevailing peace we currently enjoy in the FCT, especially between the nomads and the farmers.
“we may know the beginning of crisis, but we can never predict its ending. It is when there is peace that peace that we can indulge in all human endeavours, including rearing of cattle and farming. We therefore appeal to both the farmers and the herders to continue to embrace peace across the FCT,” he stressed.
In his remarks, Ona of Abaji, Adamu Baba-Yunusa expressed gratitude to the President and FCT Minister for setting up the committee, noting that there was peace in the Territory, even as he pledged that they were determined to resolving any conflict within their domain.
However, the royal father advised the government to work towards dedicating grazing land to herders and farm land to farmers, separating their activities in order to let peace reign.
Similarly, the Esu of Kwali, HRH Shaban Nizzazo who also hailed the president and minister for the initiative pledged to work closely with the government to ensure attainment of the goal of the committee.
He however warned that its work should not go the way of other committees, but yield the expected result.
Other stakeholders who spoke were representatives of the Fulani community, the chiefs and others. While the Fulani representatives asked government to reserve grazing land, and also restrict others from going into water bodies, where cattle drink from to avoid clashes, the farmers decried a situation where their lands were been taken over by the governments without any recourse to them.
Some Fulani herders requested that cattle routes be respected, places where cattle brink be preserved and that the Fulani be respected as human beings, adding that the trouble makers were strangers.
District head of Yangoji, who likened farming to education of the farmers, called that farmers should not b denied access to their farms, and warned: “if nothing is done, worse than Benue crisis will occur in the FCT.”