The Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore has claimed that an estimated 5,000 cattle herders have been killed in several states in Nigeria in an ongoing crisis of conflicts between nomadic herders and local farming communities.
Open grazing has been publicly condemned and blamed as the reason why cattle herders clash with local farming communities over the control of lands, with such clashes leading to the death of hundreds over many years, most of them blamed on killer herdsmen.
While speaking during an interview with Nigerian Tribune, Kautal Hore's Secretary-General, Saleh Alhassan, lamented that enough has not been reported about the murder of herdsmen.
According to him, cattle herders have been brutally killed, with at least two million cows lost without any consequences for the perpetrators.
He said, "We have lost estimated two million cows since this crisis started in Plateau and Taraba states, in Southern Kaduna and in parts of Kogi and Niger states. We have equally been victims in Zamfara and a few other states in the North.
"For instance, 800 of our people were killed by a militia group in Mambilla Plateau. We also suffered the killing of 97 of our people by Bachama militias in Numan, Adamawa State. In Southern Kaduna, to be specific, in Kajuru, we lost 103 members.
"So far, 5,000 of our people have lost their lives in the last 10 years, since this crisis erupted. The most painful thing is that nobody has been put on trial. Nobody has been charged.
"In Southern Kaduna, for instance, in 2011, 400 of our people were murdered and nothing was done to the people who perpetrated this dastardly act. Today, the killers are walking on the streets as free citizens. Nobody was arrested or prosecuted."
Speaking on the federal government's National Livestock Transformation Plan, a N179 billion 10-year initiative targeted at putting an end to the agelong herders-farmers crisis, Alhassan said the association supports "any policy that will bring succour to our people." He further urged the government to revive the 131 grazing reserves as promised.
National Livestock Transformation Plan
Under the federal government's plan, cattle herders are expected to be registered and recognised with cooperatives for the purpose of the ranching scheme. These cooperatives will then be able to get rental agreements for land from state governments and also benefit from ranch resources on several terms including loans, grants, and subsidies.
The funding of the plan from the federal government and state governments is expected to last for the first three years in the pilot phase for a total of N70 billion while private sector interests and investment between the third and tenth year is expected to be in excess of N100 billion.
The proposed ranch size models, according to the plan, is a cluster of 30, 60, 150 and 300 cows ranched in a location within the donated reserves.
Adamawa, Benue, Ebonyi, Edo, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Oyo, Plateau, Taraba, and Zamfara have been selected as the pilot states to launch the plan, with 94 ranches to be established and operational in clusters of 4 ranches in 24 locations in those states.
Of the 10 states designated as pilot states, the governments of Benue State and Ebonyi State have publicly denied agreeing to provide land for the federal government's initiative.