Monday, 11 April 2016

Fulani, Falae and The Oldest Battle

I read with alarm and sadness that Fulani's have attacked the farm premises of Olu Falae in the Obaile residence of the elder statesman and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

According to Premium Times, about 10 Fulani herdsmen also attacked the farm of Falae, on Sunday, taking one of the security guards at the residence hostage. The security guard was later found dead on Thursday. His body was discovered by the police in a pool of water some miles away from Falae farm.

The matter was said to have been handled quietly by the police on the behest of the Falae family. The family reportedly deserted their house for fear that they will be attacked again. It would be recalled that the former SGF was last year kidnapped by some Fulani herdsmen, who are currently facing criminal prosecution for the abduction. Falae was, however, released by his abductors after paying N5 million ransom.
This constant battle between rogue Fulani men and farmers have been on the increase across the country. The whole of Plateau state and Benue are used to the constant battle between farmers and Fulani men. This has become a major problem that needs to be addressed by our policy makers. The agriculture community are aware of the importance of these nomads to our economy as intensive rearing of cattle are still above the level of sophistication displayed by most farms in Nigeria at the moment and with such large mass of land unused, that makes for perfect grazing grounds.

The problem is that Nigeria's grazing reserves have been systematically depleted or allocated to large corporations to use as farming lands. This combined with the rise in cattle rustling in the past years have made the Fulani's feel aggrieved and create a level of tension.

The Ministry of Agriculture would do the nation a massive favor in its push towards delivering milk to school students if we made the cattle and dairy industry an efficient entity. Grazing lands are a non-negotiable. Planting resistance and nutrient rich grazing plants like the alfalfa plant across vast grazing lands across the country would definitely help in sequestering the movements of these Fulani herdsmen. The battle between settlers and nomads is the oldest fight known to man. it can run deep and bloody so should not be ignored for much longer by the government. We need policies implemented to handle this situation.

My sympathies goes to those that were harmed or lost their lives during the attack on Chief Olu Falae's farm and hope the police would speedily conclude their investigations.

Have a good day.