Hon. Sadiq Ibrahim, a member of the house of representatives from Adamawa has warned that the violence being perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen across the country would continue if state governors and Nigerians were unwilling to make sacrifices to protect the herdsmen by donating land to them for their sustenance.
Ibrahim who is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) said the Nigerian government had historically provided comfort for other Nigerians but left the Fulani herdsmen to their fate.
“The herdsman needs our pity. Nature has been harsh to him and government has not taken adequate care of him.
“We all have to make sacrifices in one way or another in order to address this problem holistically,” he said.
Many Nigerians are uncertain of how a land donation mechanism would work, however the Federal Government is proposing an initiative called cattle colonies. A cattle colony will be a parcel of land comprising 10,000 hectares which is to be earmarked for the Fulani herdsmen across the 36 states of the country.
Several state governors have kicked against the initiative, with the governors of Benue, Ekiti, Abia, and Taraba all issuing statements saying that there is no land to be provided for free.
States like Benue have enacted an anti-open grazing law which allows herdsmen to acquire the land through purchase for ranching purposes.
John Dyegh describing the law in plenary on Tuesday said the government was not expelling Fulani herdsmen from the land but insisting that the land must be paid for.
He said, “All the government did was to say that herdsmen could buy land, settle in the state and ranch their cattle.
“Nobody said Fulani people should leave Benue. This is where the misrepresentation comes in.”
However Aisha Dukku (APC, Gombe) reminded the plenary that former President Goodluck Jonathan released N100 billion for the executive governors of the 36 states to map out grazing reserves for the herdsmen.
She said, “Where is the N100bn that former President Goodluck Jonathan gave to governors to establish grazing reserves for cattle? Why is nobody calling the governors to account?”
It is widely believed that many governors misappropriated the funds, and the debate is on as to if the states will be made to compensate the funds back to the FG through the issuance of cattle colonies.