President Muhammadu Buhari believes the re-establishment of grazing routes to enable herdsmen to move their cattle unhindered across the country is the solution in ending the conflict between herders and farmers.
The President who spoke during a town hall meeting with the Nigerian community in Dubai on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, said Nigerian herdsmen are known to be peaceful and don’t fit the image of the AK-47-wielding marauders who have been accused of attacking communities.
President Buhari said the erasure of grazing routes that existed in the past has contributed greatly to the problem and can be solved by bringing them back.
He said, “But those of you who are neighbours to cattle rearers, Nigerian cattle herders use to carry only sticks and their machetes to cut foliage for the cattle. But these are cattle herders with weapons like AK-47.
“But the problem is that you can hardly identify the difference between cattle herders from Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and other cattle herders. They look the same but I was accused of not doing anything about those operating locally but I took the governor on this and this is one of the reasons he left our party for another party.
“Because I told him the cattle herders and settlers problem in Nigeria is older than myself not to talk of him and at first republic, there were cattle routes, they put infrastructures and even veterinary.
“But the so-called politicians because they are so much in a hurry to make money they acquire some of these lands and turned them into their private farms.
“So, if you are a cattle herder or you know about cattle, like myself, the herders now pass through anybody’s land to find water for their cattle to drink.
“I told Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture, to look at the gazette of the first republic to get the cattle routes and get the grazing routes and re-establish them so that we can reduce this incidence. Some of you here know the efforts we are making.”