By Mohammed Ismail
The Secretary General, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN), Alhaji Sale Bayeri has disclosed that in the last five years, over 10,000 herdsmen were killed in the country just as he said over 12 million cows were rustled in various conflicts involving herdsmen across the country.
He called on the Federal Government to rescue the endangered group by establishing Anti-Cattle Rustling Squad across the states in order to safeguard the lives of Fulanis who seem to be at the receiving end whenever there is a conflict.
Bayeri said, the Fulani herdsmen always operate in small colonies in the bush which made them to be vulnerable to attacks by cattle rustlers and ethnic militias that has become their fate over the years. “The Fulani cattle rearers have become the target of cattle rustlers and ethnic militia making them to suffer adverse consequences because they live in small colonies in the bush”.
“Right now, most people in Nigeria consider us as foreigners. For them, we don’t belong to Nigeria. All our effort to live peacefully with our host communities have failed because at the slightest provocation, our cattles are killed and/ or stolen while our men are slaughtered. Our men and cattle have come under continuous attack in the last few months,” Bayeri emphasised.
On the increasing cases of cattle rustling plaguing the country, the general secretary of the group noted with concern that they were organised groups of cow rustlers, hence, the need for the government to introduce anti- cattle rustling squads. We want to call on the government to see the need for introducing special squads against cow rustling as was done in to curtail robbery where the government introduced anti robbery squads.
He cited Plateau, Kaduna, Zamfara, Taraba and Benue States as major areas where the Fulanis were mostly greeted by violence and seriously plagued by the menace of the rustlers and called on state governments to create grazing reserves, saying that, it would help to reduce the friction between farmers and herdsmen as the situation is responsible for about 70 per cent of the crises.