5 ways to stop killings by cattle grazers
Herdsmen killings in Nigeria can be prevented and eradicated with the following tips.
In the last couple of days, herdsmen have killed some 30 persons in Benue communities; razing homes and farmlands and sending thousands fleeing to nowhere.
Herdsmen have ended lives in Kaduna, Taraba, Nasarawa and elsewhere.
We have a pastoralist crisis on our hands and here’s how we can begin to fix the mess:
1. Identifying and punishing killers
These herdsmen who slit throats and leave blood in their trail must have faces, names and acquaintances.
It’s time to start arresting and dragging them before courtsfor judgment in accordance with the laws of the land. All of them.
These herdsmen mustn’t be allowed to get away with murder, in order to serve as a deterrent.
And slaps on the wrist should no longer be the lots of herdsmen. The full force of the law is what's required.
2. Anti-open grazing laws
I grew up in a rural community in the Cross River plains and know what it means for cattle to trample on yam shoots, level cassava ridges, upturn rice nurseries and devour vegetable with reckless abandon.
It hurts the farmer like crazy.
Nigeria has to make laws that will make open grazing illegal.
There’s a point to be made here that the typical Fulani herdsman cherishes his nomadic, peripatetic lifestyle and won’t trade that for any legislation.
But times they-are-a-changing.
The Fulani herdsman has to learn that restriction is part of the modern world and adjust accordingly.
There are no open borders anywhere. Ask Trump.
3. Invest in grazing ranches
Every State in Nigeria should dedicate parcels of land for green pasture for herdsmen and their cattle. It should be compulsory for every State to have these ranches which should be religiously maintained and tended.
Herdsmen would not need to traverse States and villages, destroying farmlands and provoking everyone in their wake.
In civilized societies, herdsmen don’t trek from one end of the earth to the other. Besides, cattle restricted to ranches turn out healthier.
It’s not even rocket science.
4. Educate herdsmen
Herdsmen could actually behave better if they had a little more education and sensitization to go with their trade.
What will it cost States to enrol herdsmen in informal learning centers and bring them up to speed with modern grazing and livestock techniques?
Not a lot, I tell you.
5. Disarm herdsmen
No herdsman should be carrying guns or pistols across Nigeria unless they’ve been licensed to do so.
Why do we let civilians bear arms indiscriminately and helplessly watch them as they turn those arms on fellow civilians?
The internet is full of pastoralists bearing arms as they march round Nigeria.
It’s a perfect recipe for anarchy and murder.
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