The Muslim Rights Concern has called on the Federal Government to set aside substantial amount for the cattle herders for the purchase of land across the country for the establishment of ranches.
Describing it as solution to an unending Fulani herders-farmers’ feud, MURIC in a statement by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, said bailout to herdsmen would be a good idea in resolving age long farmers-herders clashes.
He attributed the age-long feud to the financial incapability of herders to purchase land for ranches and non readiness of the affected state government to shift grounds.
The statement read, ‘In our own view, the state governments who rejected the idea of donating land for ranches and ruga settlements did so because nobody was prepared to pay for such land and FG showed no intention to do so. It will be a horse of another colour if herders and cow owners buy land across the country for grazing. It should be a private project and a business venture just like all other businesses.
“Meanwhile herders and cow owners may not be willing or they may lack the capacity to buy land for cattle grazing. As for the will, Northern traditional leaders have a role to play in persuading herders and cow owners to change their mindset and become willing to operate ranches. Concerning financial capacity, this is where FG should come in. FG must be prepared to stoop in order to conquer. A huge bailout must be granted herders and cow owners to enable them buy land and set up ranches.
“Such a bailout is not new and the herders/farmers connundrum necessitates it. Afterall banks, airlines, private vehicle producing companies, petroleum importers and even farmers have received subsidies, bailouts and waivers in the past. It is now the turn of herders and cow owners and the time to do it is now.
“State governors can summon representatives of Miyetti Allah in their states and discuss the possibility of bailout funds or loans from the state to purchase huge chunks of land. Such land can be used for ranching. The readiness of each state to respond to this call will be a reflection of the level of the governor’s patriotism and his desire for peace within his territory. Even local governments can participate in the project. Philanthropists and business tycoons are not left out of the option as it offers a good prospect of huge profits.
“Once this is done, farmers in food basket areas of the North will settle peacefully in their farms and the hostility between indigenes and Northern communities in the South will become a thing of the past. There will be bumper harvests and the prices of foodstuff will come down. Security networks like Amotekun which have been set up in the South to complement the police will be able to concentrate on real crimes like kidnapping and armed robbery.
“Finally, we urge FG to embrace this idea of a bailout for herders and cow owners to buy land for ranches. This will drastically reduce the incidence of clashes between herders and farmers. It will also reduce crime by exposing the real criminals among the herders because it will be easy for security agents to distinguish between genuine herders, rapists and kidnappers. Herders will tender their herds inside the established ranches while those who roam about will be picked up. It will also be easy for FG to ban open grazing once ranches have been set up. It is hoped that state governors will use part of their security vote to key into the idea.”