By Foster Akafia
A Fulani herdsman, Mr. Abubakar Sadique Hogo has in an interview with Rite news noted that though a lot of Fulanis are perceived to be the owners of the cattle they herd, many are only caretakers of the livestock which are actually owned by certain individuals within society.
Mr. Abubakar who expressed the challenges Fulani herdsmen encounter with crop farmers in certain parts of the country made the remarks on the Rite Agro news on Thursday. He explained that although their work has been going on well for the past two years, they still face a lot of challenges.
‘The problem is that, people have taken issues of Fulani herdsmen personal due to the wrong perception they have heard about us,’ Mr. Abubakar lamented adding that cattle rearing is a business that a lot of people are venturing into.
The herdsman who was not particularly happy with the negative perception about he and his kinsmen expressed his frustration at the development. ‘People shouldn’t criticize or attack all Fulanis in the event that crops are destroyed by a few herdsmen and their cattle because in most cases, the real owners of the livestock are not Fulanis,’ he noted.
He described as ‘not alarming’ the many reported cases of farm destructions blamed on the activities of the herdsmen, suggesting that some of those cases are exaggerated though he admitted that some of the herdsmen look on as their cattle stray into farms.
He also decried the habit of arbitrary attacks on Fulani herdsmen and their cattle during misunderstandings between the two parties, adding that the herdsmen have a committee that addresses such issues.
Mr. Abubakar also explained that herdsmen desirous of settling on particular lands reach an agreement with the local traditional authorities and opinion leaders ‘before you are given a piece of land to use for your cattle farming.’ ‘Some agreements include giving of a heifer or an amount equivalent to the price of the heifer after every three years and this differs from every community,’ he asserted.
He was also worried that some of the elders fail to inform the communities of the agreement which results in some of these misunderstandings. He also accused some members of the communities of setting up farming activities right where Fulani herdsmen are grazing, a situation which sometimes results in the unnecessary clashes.
As part of the efforts to address the problem, Mr. Abubakar noted that the educated herdsmen amongst them will lead them in arriving on a certified agreement with the chiefs to ensure that they are given lands which would serve their interest and prevent the herdsmen from crossing into farming areas.