By; RALPH OKHIRIA, Benin City
The leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), has accused politicians of being responsible for the lingering herders/farmers’ clashes in Nigeria.
National Secretary of the association, Alhaji Baba Othman Ngelzarma made the accusation during a meeting of the Edo State chapter of MACBAN and farmers at the instance of the State police commissioner, Mr. Johnson Babatunde Kokumo in Benin City.
Alhaji Baba who spoke on behalf of the national president of MACBAN, Alhaji Mohammadu Kiruwa said politicians have turned the clashes between herdsmen and farmer into a ‘fertile ground’ for their selfish political interest.
He however expressed concern that politicians have given herdsmen unprintable names, declaring that MACBAN is not a terrorist group.
“We are not a terrorist group. We are peace loving. We condenm violence of any form. Whenever there is violence in any part of the country, we always not happy. Even, our members are sometimes victims of these criminalities.
“Sultan of Sokoto is the Chairman of MACBAN BOT and that was why he gave us the mandate to fish out the criminals and identify the problems responsible for herdsmen attacks.”
While condemning reported violence and other forms of atrocities allegedly perpetrated by some herders, Ngelzarma said: “we see these perpetrators as criminals.
” Our members have lost over two million cows to herdsmen/farmers clashes and to cattle rustlers. Also, our members are sometimes kidnapped.
“We have educated our members in Edo state on how best to do their cattle business without causing trouble with farmers because just the way they value their cattle, the same way farmers value their crops.
He explained that genuine herders are also at the receiving end from the activities of cattle rustlers.
According to him, “these criminal herdsmen go about with arms. When they see armless herders, they attack them, steal their cows and we have lost over two million cattle.
He lauded the State CP , Mr. Johnson Kokumo and governor Godwin Obaseki for the meeting, noting that “we are reaching out to governors who will cooperate with us so that we can work with the farming communities to bring lasting peace.”
Earlier, the CP said the meeting was geared towards finding a lasting solution to farmers/herders clashes and ensures that both are law abiding.
“The problems are quite enomous but we want our farmers and herders ti live together peacefully without breaching the law and that is the reason for this meeting”, he stated.