kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, says there are three types of herdsmen operating in Nigeria.
The governor stated this while speaking with journalists in Abuja on Wednesday.
Ganduje said, “There are three types of herdsmen in Nigeria. The first are those who are coming with thousands of cattle from West African countries and you don’t expect them to carry food for the cattle. Along the way, they have to cut trees and provide food for the cattle and that creates some problem. They are attacked by farmers, and along the line, they have learnt to attack farmers as well. They go about with their families on horses and donkeys and also carry arms and have graduated into being bandits.
“That is one category of herdsmen who are coming from West Africa. That is an ECOWAS problem which Nigeria should negotiate. The second is the herdsmen who are from the northern part of Nigeria. They trek through the North Central zone to the south. They normally don’t have a lot of cattle like the ones coming from West Africa. Those ones too create problems because of trekking from one place to the other. The third one are those herdsmen who are born in places different from places of their socio-cultural and socio-religious origin.”
Continuing, he noted: “I’m sure that in the south you can get some Fulani herdsmen who are born there and are not trekking to come to the north but are permanently there. They also have problems, because when their young ones cannot go to school, they can also cause problems. This is my own classification and I’m doing it because I’m a Fulani man. So, I know what it feels to be a herdsman and business should not continue as usual. Herdsmanship should be a socio-economic venture and not a socio-cultural venture as it is right now.”
He, however, admitted that RUGA should not be a national issue.
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“I don’t subscribe to calls for Fulani herdsmen in the south to come back to the north because Ruga should not be a national issue. It should be a state issue. If there are Fulani in a southern state and they want to remain there, the constitution has allowed them to remain there. But they should negotiate with the inhabitants of that state under what terms they should carry out their ‘herdsmanship’ without harming anybody.
“If you are existing in an environment, then you should not harm the environment and the environment must not harm you. That can only exist when you negotiate. You cannot build a nightclub near a church or near a mosque. You have to negotiate with the owners of the church or the mosque. So, if you want to practise herdsmanship which is all right and beneficial, you must have a symbiotic relationship between the herdsmen and the farmers.
“Because of climate change and the increase in population and the land is not increasing, grazing areas is scarce. You don’t have to be a herdsman now to rear cattle because anybody is free to rear cattle. That is my understanding of the situation. You can remain where you are and run your business, but you must negotiate.”