Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
National President, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeder Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) Alhaji Mohammadu Kiruwa on Wednesday disclosed that the Sultan of Sokoto, Mohammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, has given them two months to fish out criminal elements among herdsmen in the country.
He made the assertion during a stakeholders meeting between the farmers and herdsmen held at the instance of the Edo State Police Command to foster peace in the various communities in the state.
The national secretary, Alhaji Baba Othman Ngelzarma, who spoke for the national president of MACBAN, said they are duty bound to proffer lasting solutions to the incessant herdsmen attacks on innocent citizens in the country.
“The Sultan of Sokoto has given us two months mandate to fish out criminal elements among the herdsmen in the country. If those things that have been alleged have been done by the herdsmen we must do all we could to fish out the criminal elements.
“He has given us the mandate and, in two months time, he wants us to give him results,” Kiruwa said.
Kiruwa said they were in Edo State to sensitize herdsmen on how to avoid conflict and live peacefully with the people of their host communities.
“We are here in Edo State for the past three days. We came in respect of what is happening across the states.
“We have talked with our members and have also heard from them. We also taught them how we want them to behave because they are at the receiving end when trouble starts.
“Because they move with all they have in this whole world, which are the cows, children and their families.
“We are here, mediating between the farmers and the herders in Odighi and the rest. I am sure that from now on, things will begin to change.
“This is just the beginning and we are going to sustain it,” he said.
Ngelzarma said those carrying out the killing of innocent citizens across the country are mostly not herdsmen, though there are bad ones among them, just as it is seen in every other profession.
He said that MACBAN was a peaceful organisation, citing notable Nigerians that constitute its board of trustees.
“We are here for peace, we are here to condemn the atrocities in whatever forms by whoever. We are not a terrorist group, but we are peace-loving association and that is why we have his eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, as the Chairman, Board of Trustees, of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeder Association, and we have other members like the Emir of Kano.
“We have the Lamido of Adamawa and the Emir of Katsina. These are other members of trustees of the association.
“This association has been in existence for over 30 years. So, it is a peaceful association. We do not condone violence and we condemn violence by whoever, either by a cattle herder or a farmer. We are not a party to violence,” he said.
The spokesman express dissatisfaction at the way activities of killer herdsmen have been politicized in the country by politicians.
“We see violence being perpetrated by criminals wherever they take place because, what a lot of people do not know, our members are at the receiving end of most of these crises.
“Today, it is on record that our members have lost about two million cows as a result of cattle rustling. Our members also suffer from the hands of the kidnappers. Our members were not spared by the farmers and cattle breeders dispute. Though we know we have our faults there because of the relationship between the tongue and teeth, so, such a thing is bound to happen.
“They have the habit of making destruction in farmlands, and these are things that we always condemn; more especially we are not a party and we do not like night grazing. We always kick against night grazing because, of all these ones that is why we have a lot of problems.
“And at times, allowing minors to go on grazing, that is what is causing most of the problems and, above all, when all these are not there when the relationship is good, they settle in the farms, they see each other, shake hands and continue to live; but today, because of so many things, politicians have made this crisis a fertile ground.
“They take advantage of the crisis for their political gain. They give the herdsmen all sorts of names to the extent that today, whatever communities in Nigeria, if they sight herdsmen come close, they start saying ‘trouble is coming close to us’,” he complained.