…As Buhari tells herdsmen: Remain where you are, ignore NEF’s unauthorised quit order***
Leaders of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) have called for the collaboration of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in uniting the different religious groups in the country for peaceful resolution of the farmers-herders’ conflicts.
The National Secretary of MACBAN, Baba Ngelzarma, made the call in his remark during the delegation of the association’s courtesy visit to the National leadership of CAN on Wednesday in Abuja.
Ngelzarma said that the cattle breeders association sought partnership with CAN to demonstrate its desire toward peace and mutual resolution of the lingering conflicts.
“MACBAN wishes to request the partnership of CAN in uniting the different religious groups in the country for peaceful resolution of the farmers-herders conflicts.
“We should unite against hatred and support all government initiatives toward solving the conflict.”
He said that MACBAN acknowledged the increasing tension between farmers and its members in the last five years due to scarcity of pasture over grazing reserve as a result of climate change.
Ngelzarma said that MACBAN was duly aware of the effort by the Federal Government in conjunction with state governors to address the farmers-herders conflicts through the 10-year National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) 2019 to 2028.
He said that the association had embraced the plan fully and had already trained her national and state executives on negotiation, peace building and conflicts prevention in preparation for the plan.
The national secretary said that MACBAN recognised the need to partner government to modernise livestock production as proposed in the NLTP.
“We believe the 10 years plan will guarantee efficient time for pastoralists to learn new techniques of Livestock production.
“MACBAN will require that government implements the plan as designed in order to assist the pastoralists through proper extension services and training over the plan period to properly learn how to manage livestock efficiently.
“Both MACBAN and the umbrella body of farmers, AFAN, benefited in training organised by the Presidency on peace-building and conflict resolution.
Ngelzarma said that MACBAN also looked forward to more engagement with CAN as a body and other stakeholders in the Nigerian project.
“We seek the cooperation of CAN to be part of our National Campaign to reorient our youth to fear the Almighty, inculcate values of hard-work, empathy and being our brothers’ keeper irrespective of their faith.”
He said that pastoralists had lived peacefully for ages with different nationalities and had learned to resolve their quarrels peacefully.
He, however, noted that the media were making it look like the pastoralists were perpetually at war with other communities.
“Like all other communities we have our bad eggs and we have not relented in fishing them out all across the country.
“We have been to Ebonyi, Ekiti, Enugu, Katsina, Oyo and now Zamfara to assist in resolving conflicts with our members.
“We are grateful with the level of understanding and cooperation we have received from the state governments in resolving some of these security issues.”
He said that as part of effort to address the farmers-herders conflicts, MACBAN had resolved to embark on a number of stakeholder engagements which it began with the leadership of CAN.
The engagements according to him include a summit that would involve people from all walks of live as well as multiple engagements with the media at various levels across the country.
Ngelzarma, who condemned the killing of Mrs. Funke Olakunri, the daughter of Pa Reuben Fasoranti, the leader of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, urged Nigerians to desist from politicising the killing.
He also urged Nigerians to desist from dressing it in ethnic garb and allow the security to do its work.
“We are also reaffirming our call on the Police and other security agencies to do all they can to get to the root of this dastardly killing and ensure diligent prosecution of any individual or group found to have had a hand in the incident.”
In his response, the National Chairman of CAN, Rev. Supo Ayokunle, urged all Nigerians to be prayerful for the plan of the devil for the country not to be achieved.
“I will urge all of us to be prayerful because I see the devil at work, provoking men to do things that are very odd, things that for years ago you cannot think can happen in Nigeria.
“Devil is at work and it will make us to be fighting ourselves. If we are not careful we with not be able to chase him out.
“It is with our collectivity that we can chase the devil away.”
Ayokunlec commended MACBAN for the call for collaboration, pledging that CAN would discuss the proposal and get back to the association.
“We have received your move with appreciation, we will sit down articulate it to be well informed on all these proposals you have raised,” he said.
Also at the event was the National President of MACBAN, Muhammadu Kirowa, and other national leaders of both CAN and MACBAN.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has enjoined all Nigerians, particularly the Fulani herdsmen, to ignore the recent call by the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) to Fulani herders, asking them to leave the southern part of Nigeria.
According to a statement by the President’s spokesperson, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Wednesday, Buhari said all citizens of Nigeria are free to move and live within any part of the country they please, whether or not they are originally from there.
“In line with our country’s constitution, the government of Nigeria and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will protect citizens of Nigeria wherever they find themselves.
“No one has the right to ask anyone or group to depart from any part of the country, whether North, South, East or West,” Shehu quoted the President as saying.
The presidential aide questioned the intentions of the NEF and the other so-called leaders in delving into issues with unsolicited, ill-intentioned advice.
Shehu said: “They have no one’s authority to make such pronouncements.
“The polarising role of the Northern Elders Forum and all those other groups dabbling into issues of security to score cheap political points has for long been a sore point in Nigeria’s body polity.
“They should not be allowed to mislead anyone, least of all the Fulani herders.
“The Buhari administration is fully devoted to finding a lasting solution to the herder-farmer clashes in different parts of Nigeria- one that would be acceptable to all the parties involved.’’
Shehu quoted the president as calling on all Nigerians to help keep the peace in the country.