2019: How Jigawa state gov’t courts the support of herders

Keeping the policy of continuity has earned Governor Mohammed Badaru Abubakar more political support within and outside Jigawa state especially among the herdsmen. BAYO MUHAMMAD ALABIRA writes.

The most recent is the launch of the 2018/19 Annual Livestock Vaccination exercise in Kiyawa local government area of the state. This annual exercise was one of the popular programmes created and carried out religiously by previous administrations of which Badaru felt are important to the lives and progress of the citizens of the state, especially livestock owners and farmers. 

According to an official statement released by the state government, “To contain non-preventable but economically devastating animal diseases, the government has procured drugs for treatment of disease outbreak across the state.”

The statement also expressed further that, “These commitments are gradually moving the state from the position of being poorest in the country to the richest and envied state not only in Nigeria but in sub-Sahara West African sub-continent”.

It is aimed at eliminating and as well limit diseases that often reduce animal populations in the state. These diseases also cause death rate, milk productivity, among others. 

During the exercise, a total number of 2,246,466 animals including cows, sheep, goats dogs, rabbits were vaccinated against diseases like transboundry animals disease (TAD), CBPP, PPR, rabies as well as newcastle respectively.

It was gathered that by the action of the government, the recent report of animal disease outbreak in the state has declined significantly. This goes to prove that with continuous vaccination, all the preventable diseases will either be eliminated or brought under total control, according to experts. 

In view of this, the state government also further beamed its searchlight on farming which is practised in the state. Accordingly, the government explained that it will boost farming which comprises both crops and livestock, among others.

To that extent, the state government said it is doing everything possible to establish an enabling environment for animals and crops occupation to thrive steadily and sustainably as well.

According to commissioner of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Alhaji Kabiru Ali, “It is a well known fact that livestock farming provides sustained livelihood just as they continue to contribute greatly to the steady growth and development of the rural economy. Livestock provides the necessary animal protein required for normal physical and mental development of human beings, as such, government has been doing its best in addressing the issues pertaining to this sector.”

Farmers/herders conflict

 The state government said it is because of the need for a peaceful coexistence among the farmers and herders that it has devised a means to tackle such conflicts in the state bearing in mind the importance of farming and animals rearing in the state.

 “In order to curtail the level of conflict, a conflict resolution committee was established at local government levels and farmers/herdsmen board was also re-energised to further sustain the peaceful existence between farmers and herders”, the statement said.

Badaru assures of his goodwill

During the vaccination exercise, Governor Badaru told the cattle rearers that he was aware of their predicament as well as the problems confronting them at various areas while rearing their livestock. 

“I know your cattle rearing business; I know the challenges you pass through in the course of your business of cattle rearing. When I came in 2015 as a governor, I inherited some pumps in various wind mills constructed by the previous administration and continued from there, I added more of these pumps; we renovated the damaged ones and gave contract to more.

“And by the grace of the Almighty Allah, we will add more in order to provide many areas where your cattle can be taking water when thirsty. We also inherited grazing lands and we are ready to create more grazing lands to enable your animals get more grasses to graze on,” he stressed.

Badaru explained further that as a government, they have gone a long way to finding more grazing areas to enable the Fulani settle in one place and allow their wards to be attending to both western and Islamic education as their counterparts who are the farmers, saying a committee has been set up towards that.  

“Since we came as a government, we set up a strong committee that was empowered to carry out its functions accordingly without fair or favours to any group or individual that is found wanting. The committee wherever it noted cattle route or grazing forest were encroached into by farmers, has the power to revoke and retrieve the routes or grazing forest back to the herdsmen”.

He said the state government has also mandated the committee to identify and carve out all encroached grazing forests and cattle routes exclusively for the Fulani cows to graze on. According to him, that was how the government has achieved a peaceful coexistence between the farmers and the herders in the whole state. 

“The committee was empowered to improve the sore relationship that had claimed lives of both farmers and herders in the past. We have successfully achieved the desired needed peace and we are doing all we can to see that we maintain the good record,” he said. 

While speaking on how best to maintain healthy animals, Badaru said, “Since we came to power, we have trained and employed about 60 personnel in animal health in our 30 state constituencies and provided them with motor-cycles. 

“It’s two for each constituency; this time, if your animal is sick, you are not expected to take it to the veterinary clinic but just call any of these trained youths on their mobile phone they will come to your door step and give your cow, sheep or goat a good treatment”.

He told the herders that everything the government does is in line with the blueprint of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government “We will continue to implement policies that President Buhari asked us to do. Jigawa is one of the states in the federation that agrees to provide more grazing lands to Fulani. And we will do our best to plant grasses that can germinate after being grazed by the cattle in our state. Wherever I go, Fulani people welcome me with Fura da no-noas one of them”. 

Herders bare their mind

In his comment, one of the Fulani herdsmen,  Mohammadu Aliyu, lamented what he describes as a total ejection from the forest of Yabaza where they were living and grazing since he was born over 60 years ago. He said presently farmers of all kinds are moving into the forest from all axis cultivating various types of crops detrimental to their livestock.

“We are living and grazing our cattle in Yabaza forest right from the time of our great grant fathers. We have never moved out to other places to graze our animals but presently farmers want to take over the forest from us and we don’t know anybody that can help us out.

“Even the other Fulani migrated to the North central, South-east or Southwest where today they are facing serious challenges with some being killed by indigenous farmers and their animals eaten freely; yet they are tagged killer herdsmen but they are forced to leave their ancestral homes because of illegal encroachment by farmers.”

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