Unending provocative killings by Fulani herdsmen across the country and the federal government’s insensitivity and long silence are becoming source of great concern to Nigerians.
Better described as genocide against the people of Nigeria, the rampaging herdsmen have slaughtered thousands of men, women, youths and children and razed down houses and other household properties more than the terrorist group, Boko Haram. An unconfirmed report recently put the deaths so far recorded from the unprovoked and senseless killings at nearly 70,000 in the last fifteen years.
Why it is so and why government has deliberately refused to curb this madness remain unknown. At the same time, reasons for the massive onslaught against helpless and hapless individuals cannot be fathomed.
Each time they strike, scores of lives are lost, victims maimed, children, women and the aged as well as property put at huge sums of Naira are lost, yet government looks elsewhere except the recent public statement by the Federal government condemning the act and directing security agencies to stop the malady, an action which could be better described as belated.
While victims from essentially northern states, like Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa groan under everlasting pains visited on them by the Fulani herdsmen, the entire southern region of the country appears to be the new attraction and theatre of war.
Last Monday morning, the pastoralists invaded Ukpabi Nimbo community in Uzo-Uwani local government area of Enugu state, killing five persons and burning houses which included a Catholic Church. The Enugu episode like previous ones in other parts of the country, especially Agatu Community in Benue state, was not repelled by the security forces despite prior notice to the Nigerian Military by the Enugu State Government.
One wonders why the federal government adopts lukewarm attitude to this pogrom. Although the insensitivity and irresponsibility contribute to the growing disappointment in the country that the state is ineffective, there are whipped- up and high-wired suspicion of a planned motive by the sponsors of the war to settle the age-long settler/indigene rivalry between the Fulanis and the indigenous farmers. Other analysts see it as subtle attempt to Islamize Nigeria using the herdsmen to coerce perceived opposition bloc or groups to submission.
Whichever way the thoughts and perspectives are shared, government has shown partiality and tactlessness to the issue and this is unfortunate.
Undoubtedly, even though the herdsmen rampage has become an everyday concern, previous actions to stem the tide apparently failed. For instance, the 7th National Assembly proposed a National Grazing Commission Bill titled: “National Grazing Routes and Reserve Bill” which sought to carve out grazing areas across the states for pastoralists. The bill failed because it tended to give undue economic advantage to the herdsmen against all other farmers. One of the salient arguments that nailed the bill was the proposition that state governments would acquire lands for herdsmen to graze, a development that was vehemently opposed by majority of the lawmakers.
Some of the legislators argued that there was nowhere in the world where grazers had a field day traversing the entire country, stressing that grazers were supposed to be confined to a particular place with the owner having own ranch or land his animals should graze.
Continuing, they noted that in the olden days in northern Nigeria, there were ranches on individual lands, adding that no piece of the land in Nigeria was free in the sense that it does not belong to anybody. A farmer owns a land upon which he farms; therefore a grazer should own a land upon which he should graze, they argued.
The fact remains that irrespective of the produce, farmers are farmers. Whether you are a grazer or a yam farmer, you are a farmer. We need the rice, the millet, yam, the same way we need the beef. If we are not providing land for the coffee farmer, yam farmer and the cocoa farmer, why must we provide land for the grazer? It should be the business and trade of the grazer to use his money to acquire land upon which he will graze.
Though the grazing bill finally failed in the last National Assembly as a result of a consensus of opposition, till date, government seems lost in policy formulation over how to control the menace and further stem the rampaging killer herdsmen. The Nigerian constitution provides that government must protect the citizenry which this administration is not doing. There are no tough measures to deal with the situation resulting in thousands of displaced communities residing in makeshift apartments.
This is unacceptable. The Buhari government must show course that it is not encouraging further killings by the Fulani herdsmen as it is assumed by many, by fishing out the culprits and making them face the law. We join the people to say stop the killings and limit grazing to ranches and not individual farm lands.

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