The leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigerian, MACBAN has accused the Nigerian media for being deeply biased in its reportage of the incessant farmers Herders conflict saying it has tagged its members as criminals and terrorists.
The National Secretary of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, MACBAN ,Baba Othman Ngelzelma who decried this development yesterday at a two Nation- al Summit on Conflict Resolution organized by The Nation and Television Continental, TVC in Abuja insisted that his Group has consistently been in the fore to finding a lasting and sustainable solution which has brought hardship to both parties.
“The causes of this crisis as we all know are climate change polarization, criminality and the media the crisis have been hijacked by crisis merchants which are politicians of questionable characters, religious extremists and regional bigots.
“However, our major concern is the media who are supposed to be the vanguard of societal reorientation for peaceful co-existence unfortunately, the media has taken sides and has succeeded in portraying the herdsmen crisis as a criminal and terrorists this is unfortunate and does not in any way portray the true story.
This categorisation must stop there is no community in Nigeria that does not have its bad eggs and the herders community is no exception criminals and criminality must be identified and treated as such without profiling the group as criminals.
“We have noticed with disdain how our members are potrayed as criminals . it should be on record that we have suffered untold hardship, unmitigated harassment from security agencies, lost our only source of livelihood through organized banditry and outright shooting of our cows as at today, we lost over 2million cows to cattle rustling and other criminalities and even the insurgency in the north east, our members are most affected by the crisis because they are non seditry none of them is captured in any of the government empowerment programme.
“In Benue from the introduction of the anti-open law graze law, we have lost over 300 members but it’s not covered by the media. We lost over 7000 cows in Benue, if you go to Zamfara , we have lost over 15000 people and property worth billions of Naira. In Nassarawa, we have lost 129 herders and in plateau , just in a span of three to four months , we lost about 300 members because of the media negative profiling, our members are considered by everyone as the culprit.
Proffering solutions to the crisis, he opined that the existing grazing reserves be made fully functional compensation of losses by the government to both sides to reduce the frutration, education and extension services of modern animal husbandry.
Ngelzema also insisted that government should adopt a ranching model that will include the peculiarities of the pastoralists we have in Nigeria.
“To them the cow is a symbol of prestige, food and a means of social existence. Unless you come up with a model of ranch that will incorporate all these functions of the cow, the problem will continue to linger because nomadism is a way of life.
Earlier in his paper presentation titled ‘Towards an Enduring Peace Practical Approaches to Ending Farmers , Herdsmen conflict, Prof Daniel Musa Gwary of the faculty of Agriculture, University of Maiduguri pointed out that the crisis is largely due to the neglect of the agric sector saying “ if agric had received the attention it deserved , we would have developed the sector to a level comparable with other developed countries and there won’t be any reason for any conflict.
He therefore proposed that a solution would be for government to adopt a climate smart agriculture, CSA which is approach for transparency and reorienting agricultural development under the new realities of climate change.
“it is centered on three pillars of productivity, adaptation and mitigation . CSA sustainably increases productivity and income, strengthen resilience to climate change and variability reduce agriculture’s contribution to climate change. Others include, address environmental factors that are driving herders migration to the South, and strengthen conflict mediation resolution, reconciliation and peace building mechanism.