OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI- FULANI HERDSMEN NEED NO CATTLE COLONIES ACROSS THE FEDERATION: HERE IS THE SOLUTION
By Ikenna Asomba
Sincerely, I have been seriously perturbed by the wanton killings perpetrated by armed Fulani Herdsmen all in the name of fighting for grazing lands.
This dastardly act has continued unabated. That the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has not been proactive about this issue is without doubt.
I have read many a reports about who the alleged perpetrators of these wanton killings are, including that by the Chinua Achebe Leadership Centre, but that is not the focal point of this piece.
The focal point of this piece is to bear my mind on the lasting solution to this Herdsmen menace.
As we all know, Nigeria’s total landmass is 923,768 square kilometres
This is equivalent to 92,376,800 hectares
1 Hectare is equivalent to 15 plots of land.
Therefore, Nigeria is sitting on 1, 385,652,000 plots of land.
The total landmass of the Virgin and Rich Sambisa Forest is 686 square kilometers.
This is equivalent to 68,600 hectares.
1 Hectare is equivalent to 15 plots of land.
Sambisa is therefore sitting on 1,029,000 plots of land.
According to the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, to tackle the Fulani Herdsmen Menace what is needed for the Federal Government’s proposed Cattle Colony is 10,000 hectares of land across the 37 States of the Federation, including Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
This is 370,000 hectares across the Federation.
370,000 hectares is equivalent to 3,700 square kilometres.
Since Nigeria has a land mass of 923,768 square kilometres, the proposed Cattle Colony would gulp 0.4% of our Total Landmass.
It’s Broken, Let’s Fix It!
Recall that Sambisa Forest is 686 square kilometres (68,600 hectares), which implies that the Federal Government-owned Virgin and Rich Sambisa Forest is sitting on 0.074% of Nigeria’s landmass.
As 1 Hectare is equivalent to 15 plots of land, Sambisa Forest is therefore sitting on 1,029,000 plots of land.
Wow! 1,029,000 plots of 100 feet by 100 feet land?
National Statistics of Cattle In Nigeria
According to the 2011 National Agricultural Sample Survey, it is indicated that Nigeria was endowed with an estimated 19.5 million cattle.
Of this number, those belonging to the Nomadic Fulani Herdsmen who are not yet ranching but going about destroying people’s agric farms are better taken to Sambisa Forest sitting on a whopping 1,029,000 plots.
Sambisa Forest should be used as a Pilot Test for the Cattle Colony. This is a free land, Virgin and Rich, owned by the Federal Government.
The fact remains that as Nigeria’s population is exploding, Nigerians would be needing lands for infrastructural development, etc. There is no assurance that if Cattle Colonies are built for the Rampaging Fulani Herdsmen across the 37 States of the Federation, including the FCT, Abuja, there won’t be fresh problems in the future.
Of course, we are all aware that the Myetti Allah, an umbrella body for Fulani Herdsmen have rejected the Federal Government’s proposed Cattle Colony for them, insisting that nobody can deny them their ‘fundamental human rights’ of open grazing across Nigeria.
This is ridiculous no matter how you look at it.
The same 2011 National Agricultural Sample Survey indicates that there are 72.5 million goats, 41.3 million sheep, 7.1 million pigs, 28,000 camels, 145 million chickens, 11.6 million ducks, 1.2 million turkeys and 974, 499 donkeys in Nigeria.
The pertinent question remains, who would provide lands for Colonies for the Goats, Sheep, Pigs, Camels, Chickens, Ducks, Turkeys and Donkeys Farmers?
I insist that President Muhammadu Buhari should remove his biases from this proposed Cattle Colonies because it affects his kinsmen.
President Buhari is a Cattle Rearer. As a private cattle rearer, he ranches his cattle. His cattle do not stray into other people’s farms in Daura, Katsina State. Or do they?
Therefore, he must as a matter of urgency jettison this call for Cattle Colonies, but urge his kinsmen to acquire lands to ranch their Cattle, as this is their own private businesses. Needless these wanton killings.
Even the Holy Bible in Exodus 22:5 supports Ranching and Kicks Against Open Grazing.
God Almighty, the Omniscient God knows the problem Open Grazing would cause in the world, thus He inspired his servant, Prophet Moses to give the Israelites the regulation below:
If an animal is grazing in a field or vineyard and the owner lets it stray into someone else’s field to graze, then the animal’s owner must pay compensation from the best of his own grain or grapes (NEW LIVING TRANSLATION).
What this implies is that every Cattle Farmer must have his own Grazing Field or Land, thus known as Ranch. If such a cattle now grazes into someone else’s farm or field, compensations must be paid.
Are these set of rampaging armed Fulani Herdsmen remorseful when their cattle stray into other people’s farms destroying their crops? Do they believe in making compensations?
We have gone mad in this country!
Well, the Senate had given the Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris, just 14 days ULTIMATUM to fish out the perpetrators of the recent Benue Massacre of over 73 innocent lives, including women and children. This Ultimatum must be carried out without further delay.
If not carried out, the National Assembly must show seriousness that it’s not what Professor Ralph Akinfeleye in 2003, referred to as “National Ashamebly.” The Head of the IGP must roll for failing to carry out this order if the 14 days lapse.
If President Muhammadu Buhari ordered Operation Python Dance to be carried out in the South East by the Nigerian Military, to quell the genuine agitations for Referendum cum Restructuring, without any delay, I wonder what should delay IGP Ibrahim Idris from carrying out the order of our distinguished National Assembly.
Sincerely, Nigerians are yet to be told what exactly the President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime is looking for with this so-called Cattle Colonies?
Ikenna Asomba is a Social Commentator.