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MURIC suggests special bailout funds for herdsmen

By Idowu Abdullahi,

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has appealed to the Federal Government to approve special bailout funds for the cattle rearing industry that would enable herdsmen across Nigeria to buy land for the establishment of ranches.

The Nigerian Islamic human rights organization said that it was important that the apex government do more in addressing issues bordering on insecurity across the state.

MURIC Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, said that approving such bailout fund for the establishment of ranches across the country would end the reoccurring farmers, herders crisis in Nigeria.

Through a statement released to newsmen on Wednesday, Akintola said that after the establishment of the ranches, the federal government can ban open grazing after the bailout fund has been released.

According to him, in our own view, the Federal Government still has some options open to it after the state governments in the South rejected the ideas of ranches and rugas.

He added that since the crisis between herders and farmers has generated severe tension over the years and resulted in open clashes with loss of lives and property in recent times, it was important the government find a lasting solution to the issue.

“In our own view, the state governments who rejected the idea of donating land for ranches and ruga settlements did so because nobody was prepared to pay for such land and FG showed no intention to do so. It will be a horse of another colour if herders and cow owners buy land across the country for grazing. It should be a private project and a business venture just like all other businesses.

“Meanwhile herders and cow owners may not be willing or they may lack the capacity to buy land for cattle grazing. As for the will, Northern traditional leaders have a role to play in persuading herders and cow owners to change their mindset and become willing to operate ranches. Concerning financial capacity, this is where FG should come in. FG must be prepared to stoop in order to conquer. A huge bailout must be granted herders and cow owners to enable them buy land and set up ranches.

“Such a bailout is not new and the herders/farmers conundrum necessitates it. After all banks, airlines, private vehicle producing companies, petroleum importers, and even farmers have received subsidies, bailouts, and waivers in the past. It is now the turn of herders and cow owners and the time to do it is now.

“Farmers who toil day and night to produce food and cash crops cannot be blamed for complaining about herders who bring cows overnight to destroy their crops. Worse still. The crimes being committed by some of the herders cannot be tolerated by any community in the country and that is why all communities in the country are at war with herders, including those in Kaduna, Gombe, Niger, etc.

“Finally, we urge FG to embrace this idea of a bailout for herders and cow owners to buy land for ranches. This will drastically reduce the incidence of clashes between herders and farmers. It will also reduce crime by exposing the real criminals among the herders because it will be easy for security agents to distinguish between genuine herders, rapists and kidnappers. Herders will tender their herds inside the established ranches while those who roam about will be picked up. It will also be easy for FG to ban open grazing once ranches have been set up. It is hoped that state governors will use part of their security vote to key into the idea.”

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