Nigerian State Is Unfair To Pastoralists, Says Yuguda
By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
Bauchi former governor, Isa Yuguda has noted with concerns that the Nigerian state has not been fair to the pastoralists whose movements across the land was to search for grazing reserves for their animals while fending for a living.
“Their treatment by the Nigerian state has been most unfair, most unfair in the sense that during the colonial period and thereafter, they were the only source of revenue to the government”, he said.
Yuguda, who was Monday fielding reporters’ questions in Bauchi shortly after revalidating his membership with the All Progressives Congress (APC), recalled that the pastoralists hitherto provided the revenue that jump-started infrastructural development in the North, including Benue state where they have now been chased out.
Mallam Isa Yuguda said, “So they are pastoralists who provides beef for the country and you can see them as an agricultural venture or animal husbandry. Have you ever heard the federal government subsidizing pastoralism?
According to him, the pastoralists are presently giving Nigeria a minimum of one million cattle every day to slaughter and take as beef, apart from other derivable from the animals.
“If you settle the pastoralists, you will have diary industries, other big industries, and other derivable from the animals themselves because nothing is wasted in the cow, everything in the cow is money”, Yuguda said.
He however expressed regret that the mindset now, especially down South is that the pastoralists are gun carrying people who were clamored by senior citizens in the country to carry weapons.
Yuguda also apportioned blames on the Nigerian press for what he described as going haywire to paint leaders black whenever they spoke on justice as was the recent statements by Governor Bala Mohammed when he said pastoralists have the rights to defend themselves.
The former governor told the press, “Lets us not be sentimental for goodness sake, this country is crumbling and it is crumbling in your hands. I’m afraid you the press are creating these problems, you have to serve this country for yourselves, you are the young ones to salvage or you have no country”.
Describing the farmer/herder incessant clashes as a very sensitive national issue that calls for caution, Yuguda said his comments may be interpreted as one-sided having being a fulani by tribe, stressing however that Nigeria is not fair to the herdsmen who have been herding all over the country for the past 200 years.
“You cannot just wake up in the morning and all of a sudden to say the pastoralists or herdsmen are AK-47 carrying killers simply because they were defenseless”, saying their treatment by the Nigerian state has been most unfair.
Yuguda recalled that at the time when Lord Lugard conquered Nigeria and setup government in the North, the herdsmen were the only source of revenue, who were then provided grazing reserves and cattle routes, querying “Today where are the cattle routes, the grazing reserves, they were all dominated by the country’s high births rate”.
“The white man provided pastoralists cattle routes from Maiduguri to Otukpo, from Sokoto to Lokoja and Ilorin with infrastructure provided them. Today in the North all these spaces have been dominated, the authorities never know how to resettle these people, do they go up the sky to rear their animals?
He also recalled that trillions of naira have been spent on salvaging the banks, as have been billions and trillions of investments in agriculture in form of subsidy, but the pastoralists who forms bulk of the Nigerian economy were never resettle, instead they were bundied as Ak-47 carrying killers.
Yuguda who noted that the fertile ground for breeding the pastoralists as killers was bred by the federal government over the years, further querying ‘have you ever the federal government subsidizing pastoralism?