Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim (APC Yobe East) yesterday affirmed that only intervention of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, could end constant clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the region.
The former Yobe State governor therefore called on the body to intervene and resettle herdsmen as the only way to curb the deadly clashes.
According to him, all the 15 member countries must be involved, as no one nation can solve the problem in its country since the nomads will continue to move.
He said that the problem which had been persistent for over 100 years would never abate unless ECOWAS countries settle all their herdsmen so that farmers and herdsmen could know peace.
“The issue of the very volatile relationship between the herdsmen and farmers; that means it is a war between all the communities in the country by the time you take all the farmers and herdsmen.
“There is war in all the 15 West African countries and it is not a new problem. Ever since I was born, I was born into it; I am half Fulani half Kanuri. This problem will not go away until and unless the15 governments of ECOWAS do something drastic, revolutionary and fundamental about it.
“There is no other solution rather than the resettlement of the herdsmen with assistance of all the governments of the 15countries in the ECOWAS region,” he said.
He said that neither the farmers nor the herdsmen could be blamed as they were both in search of their survival, which was a fundamental right, adding however that he was not in support of the killings.
“What has happened in various parts of the world has been to resettle the herdsmen with their cattle, goats and sheep,” he said.
Senator Ibrahim said that as a member of the ECOWAS Parliament for eight years, he had taken up the matter and presented a paper to the ECOWAS urging for the resettlement.
He said that he had been invited to brief the parliament at one of its conferences in Ghana on his suggestions, but decried that nothing concrete had been done since then.
The lawmaker, however, added that it was unfortunate that the ECOWAS parliament could only advise governments but decision was that of the commission headed by governments of the 15 countries.
“Now time has come and because of what is happening particularly in Nigeria, in Niger, in Mali and just yesterday in Ghana, to find solution to this problem.
“Whatever committee is set up to look into this matter, eventually the solution is resettlement: resettle these herdsmen with their cattle.
“You can look at it from several angles: from thepolitical angle, politicians cannot just fold their arms and see herdsmen killing farmers or farmers killing herdsmen.
“From the economic point of view, these herdsmen who roam about, trek thousands of kilometres every year thereby not benefitting their cattle, the cattle are not fat enough, they don’t produce enough meat.
“From the security point of view, look at what is happening in Benue, in Ghana, a similar thing happened; in Niger it is happening.
“After every rain season, hundreds of people are killed; so ECOWAS must do something about it.
“So on this occasion I must appeal to our president, President Muhammadu Buhari who is a Fulani man and who is also a farmer’s son, so he is personally directly involved.
“He should take action, he cannot solve the problem,whatever Nigeria does is just a tip of the iceberg: it has to be the whole of West Africa: all the 15 states.
“All the parliaments and all the people of WestAfrica must do something about it, it has happened in Morocco, it has happenedin Algeria,” he said.
He exemplified with the United States of America, the Arab nations and Europe where there are more cattle, livestock and farms than in West Africa, yet no clashes.
He said that West Africa had sufficient grazing lands to resettle the herdsmen and therefore added that governments of each country must decide at the level of the commission.

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