The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) and the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore have offered insight into how to resolve the violent conflicts between herders and farmers in the country.
Herders and farmers have clashed for years over the battle for resources as roaming herdsmen tend to graze their cattle on farmlands, leading to tension and sometimes violence that leads to the death of people on both sides.
Following the death of at least 100 people in Plateau State in attacks allegedly carried out by herdsmen, public sentiment has turned against pastoralists and led to increased calls on the federal government to curtail their activities.
While speaking during an interview on Channels Television on Monday, July 2, 2018, MACBAN’s national secretary, Usman Baba–Ngelzarma, and Kautal Hore’s national secretary, Saleh Alhassan, both outlined steps to take to put a definitive end to the crisis.
According to Baba-Ngelzarma, the institution of government and that of the media are very pivotal to solving the problem. He said the media has to be positive in finding solutions to the problem and commended the government for its recent achievements in maintaining order.
He also urged leaders of important institutions such as religious leaders and leaders of cultural groups to steer clear of hate speech as it could worsen the situation.
He said, “Two important institutions are key to solving the issue – first is the institution of government, second is the media.
“The media has an important role to play in trying to solve this problem. The media has to be positive in trying to solve this problem.
“On the part of the government, we must commend that the government is doing a lot on security now. We have heard what’s going in Birnin-Gwari in Zamfara. The security is up and doing we hope they will double their efforts in trying to solve the problem. Because of the dimension the crisis has assumed, any solution has to be holistic. You have to look at the resources aspect of it.
“Here, I will hail the federal government’s national livestock transformation plan, it’s okay. You have to look at the security aspect of it, education aspect of it, so many other things; it has to be holistic. We have to be up and doing
“All these religious leaders, cultural groups, we have to stop this hate speech, let’s think of coming together to solve this problem in the most positive way.”
Arrest and prosecute criminals
On his own part Alhassan said arresting and prosecuting criminals would go a long way in solving the crisis while also recommending that the country adopt a new approach to conflict reconciliation. He said, "First and foremost, criminals must be identified, arrested, and prosecuted, whoever they are. Whether they claim to be herders, armed militias, farmer's group or whatever; security must arrest criminals and prosecute them. That means the justice system must work so that people will get justice.
“Secondly, we must adopt new approach to conflict reconciliation. I have been trained by the Martin Luther Centre for Conflict Reconciliation in Atlanta, Georgia, courtesy of Foundation of Ethnic Harmony ran by Barrister Allen Eyamma, the chairman of Air Peace.
“I think if we adopt that model, we’ll be able to reconcile communities because that model preaches against vengeance, retaliation and aggression.”
Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, has repeatedly asked the federal government to crackdown on the leadership of Kautal Hore whom he has blamed for the spate of killings that has happened in the state after they stood in open rebellion of the state’s anti-open grazing law.
While speaking on Monday, Alhassan demanded that the state government apologise to Kautal Hore for spreading falsehoods about the group and promoting propaganda against it.