Aminat Isah, Abuja
The Former Governor of Kano State and the the Immediate Past Minister of Education, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau. has identified communication gap between farmers and herders as the major root cause of farmers-herders crisis in the country.
Shekarau said this in an exclusive interview with ROYAL NEWS correspondent in Abuja stating that “there is need for proper sensitization and enlightenment on what grazing laws entail and reasons why it should be adopted by states.”
According to the ex-Minister, “The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II happens to be one of the patrons of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, in that capacity and as a member of his traditional council, he assigned me to go and plead with the farmers, cattle herdsmen, government and the entire community.
“We met with a lot of people, families, the Ekiti State Chapter of the Miyetti Allah and we had a big town hall meeting. We found out at the end and realized that the cause of the crisis is as a result of failure in communication between the parties. We sat down, we resolved the issue and enlightened everybody on the grazing law of Ekiti State.”
Shekarau furthers: “Haven being assigned by the Emir of Kano to mediate between state governments and its citizenry, there was need for grazing law in each state with proper regulation , as well as enlightenment to help give the farmers and herdsmen an understanding of the mutual benefit they stand to gain from each other if peace is allowed to reign.
“The difference between Ekiti, Taraba, and Benue State is that they said no grazing at all and this policy is not good for us as a nation. We would have a grazing law, regulate it, enlighten the people and let them understand each other. Farmers need herdsmen and the herdsmen also need farmers, we are all interrelated and interdependent and in that case, we need to work together.
“We have been together for centuries so we have no reason to quarrel, we are selling this model to other states to ensure if adopted, there would be no problem.
It is not just to have the law but to have the sensitization. What we did in Ekiti was wonderful. Every stakeholder was there, the traditional rulers, farmers, community leaders, youths, politicians, and we brought in the entire State Assembly as well as government functionaries, commissioners, virtually everybody was there, hunters, farmers and cattle breeders were also left out at the village square.
“We spent the whole day discussing. So when you see it failing, it is not the law that has failed, its one thing to have the law, its another thing to enlighten the people to even know why such laws was put in place and need for strict adherence and avoidance of misinterpretation.
“By the time we spent the whole day talking it was perfect successful and we are recommending now to all parties involved that this kind of assembly should be held so that everyone will understand that these laws is not to favour one and disfavour the other. This law is for the interest of all.”
Hwhile speaking on the numerous measures adopted, Shekarau said: “Agreement was reached to abolish overnight grazing in ekiti state and it is our hope that other states will emulate the grazing laws of Ekiti state. Under normal circumstances, no grazing overnight, so if they are stopped from moving overnight, there would be no problem.
We agreed that there would be no movement of cattle overnight, because 95% of the damages done to the farmers are done overnight, so if they are stopped from moving overnight there would be no problem.
“This is so because from morning till sunset, the farmers are on their farms and everybody would cultivate their farms and then in the night the cattles are in one place and farmers are sleeping in their houses and there is peace. With that, we signed an agreement that no killing and no cattle rustling overnight. “
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