Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has advised the federal government to ban foreign herders from coming to Nigeria to tame rising insecurity.
Governor Ganduje, who also said it was wrong to tag all herders as criminals, added that many Fulani are doing legitimate business of rearing animals and needed the support of various stakeholders to do it better.
He then faulted the recent comment by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State who said the North-West governors were working at cross purposes, hence the escalation of security challenges in the region.
Recall that Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed recently said some herders were left with no option than to carry arms to protect their wealth from rampaging cattle rustlers.
Mohammed added said all forests belonged to the federal government and all citizens have the right to make use of them; and lambasted Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State for allegedly fanning the embers of hatred against the Fulani herders but paid tribute to his counterpart in Plateau, Simon Lalong, for being a peacebuilder.
Speaking on Radio France International (RFI), monitored in Kano, Ganduje said Governor El-Rufai did not understand the efforts put in place by governors in the North West to restore peace in the region.
He stated this on Thursday, at about the time when the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) said its members were ready to register with relevant authorities to differentiate them from criminals especially in the South West. According to Ganduje, “There are three categories of Fulani: there are the Fulani; there are herders, and there are foreign Fulani herders who commit crimes.
“It is often forgotten that there are foreigners among those Fulani herders but nobody is talking about them. The moment a foreign Fulani herder sneaks into Nigeria and commit a crime, he would be considered a Nigerian Fulani. Therefore, it is high time to ban them from entering Nigeria.”
He also said the time of trekking hundreds of kilometres with cattle is over. “Those herders travelling from the North to the South should be banned from doing so. Those that are saying they should not be banned from trekking to the southern part of the country for grazing should use their children to do so.
“This is a national issue. A robust bill by National Assembly is the only answer to the issue of farmer/herder conflict,” Ganduje said.
Ganduje said security agencies in the country had advised Kano, Kaduna and Bauchi States to collaborate and check security challenges in the notorious Falgore Forest in Tudun Wada and Doguwa LGAs.
“I intimated the governors of Kaduna and Bauchi and both had sent their delegations. There was the issue of funding and all of us donated money and the exercise was eventually successful.
“The way I see it, the governor (of Kaduna) did not understand security issues well because the security situation depends on the nature of a state. For instance, no matter how we strongly collaborate as governors, how can we check ethnic clashes in Kaduna?
“How can we check religious differences in Kaduna? You see, this is a problem that can only be checked by the Kaduna State government itself. Therefore, any security issue in a state depends on the efforts of the state government, the federal government, the security agencies and the people of the state.
“For instance, in Kano, we have a harmonious working relationship with security agencies and we have state-of-the-art surveillance gadgets. In Dansoshiya Forest, we are building houses to accommodate Fulani herders in a bid to stop them from grazing in the southern parts of the country.
“In Falgore Forest, there is an ongoing project of a military training camp. In the project, there is a provision for areas where Fulani herders would be accommodated.
“We have enough places to accommodate Fulani herders to prevent them from grazing in the southern part of the country. It is the only panacea to the lingering crises,” he said.