By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
“We lost almost 76,000 cows in three months and buried more than 58 persons through cattle rustlers in Kaduna state,” chairman Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, Haruna Usman, has revealed.
The MACBAN chairman, who made disclosure in an exclusive interview in Kaduna, also said that rather than peace, the law banning open grazing reserve may soon breed conflicts in affected areas if President Buhari keeps mute.
“What happened in Kajuru local government in Kaduna state is from kidnapping; they’re killing innocent people; this Sabon Gaya is from kidnapping, they kill everybody,” he said.
While Usman agreed that issues of kidnapping has become a daily phenomenon, and occurred every hour, he cautioned that “About this security issues, I don’t want to go deep on it because we are still on course to take decision with Kaduna state government; so, I will just brief you.
“We have being advising the state government on what to do. In fact, almost more than six months now, we have been discussing how to handle this issue. We advise government and we also write to them. We advise them on what to do, and in fact if to say the government accepted our advice it would have become a history by now.
“In fact, the advice we don’t want to disclose it. You know, it’s something that patterning to security, we are not supposed to bring it out because up till today even now, we are still in the process; so, in fact we have a secret meeting today, about the issue because this thing is worrying everybody.
“Look at what happened in Sabon Gaya, it affected those that are not involved, it’s armed robbers; they kill somebody in the farm, and any Fulani man seen in Gaya, they will kill him, knowing that it’s not everybody that is a criminal. So, you see, the whole thing is worrying everybody.
“My worry is that am not sure if the governor is aware of what we have discussed earlier with some the government officials. I doubt, because I knew who is El-Rufai; he is not joking with security, but I was surprised we have been advising them, telling them what to do and they have forgetting about it.
On whether the recommendations are beyond state government resources, Usman stated that “Though we didn’t request for any money from them, we requested for security and government support, because democracy government is a government of the people, for the people.
“Everybody is under this government; when you want to do something you have to advice government, especially something patterning security, to support you. Even if they will not support you financially, they will have to support you; so, that is what we want,” he explained.
Usman further explained that “I wrote for courtesy call five times to see the governor; I couldn’t see him on these issues. If you look at the issue of kidnapping, the Fulanis have been accused.
“We advise government on what to do about it, we use our organization to advise government, because there are so many ways to tackle that issue, by collecting all their guns.
“The system of collecting the guns from people in position of illegal arms should be accepted by the government. We sit down with them here in Government House, more than ten times with the officers on how to negotiate to collect all the guns. Those that will not agree to collect their guns, we force them to collect their gun.
“When we collect all their guns, they will not carry sticks to go and block road. So, for illiteracy people to carry gun is dangerous to the country; we have been calling attention of the government, write to them, give them advise not verbally,” he added.
On whether he can remember those that have been in the security meeting with them, and whether he can mention some of them, Usman said “We hold meetings with Garrison Commander, CP of Police, Director SSS, SSG, Permsec Security’s and Cabinet, Adviser to El-Rufai on security, Commander Civil Defense, and all government security agencies were involved.
“They accepted to work with us the last time we sat down. We agreed to form committee and we asked them to invite vigilante with all their guns to give security. We believe the discussion was not relayed to Governor. Emir has written to SSG of the complaints, and SSG invited us to his office and sat down with him.
“We have given him the writing, we are waiting his approval. If approved, we’re going to enter bush and collect all guns from the Fulani, and those, who’ll not surrender, we’ll force it out of their hands and clear everything; and anyone we don’t know, those boys that are helping us will known them,” Usman said.
When asked to buttress on how the guns were acquired, he said “These guns are not selling in Super Markets. It’s government/security fault. When we finish, it’s left for government to monitor border to stop migration of Fulani with illegal arms.
“Katsina state copy from us; they succeeded in disarmament of everybody, and now they are living in peace with herdsmen and farmers. Two months only, you will see change when we finish,” he asserted.
On ban on Open Grazing law in Benue state, he said “You can’t bring up a law overnight that affects some tribes that everybody and say they should comply to it. You can’t keep cow without food. And this law will not bring anything good in Benue state except conflict.
“It’s a wrong decision. I’ll not go deep because is a national issue. Is unfortunate, Buhari is keeping quiet about it instead of calling on the Governor to order. Let’s wait and see. It will not work; we are all in Nigeria.
“Is not going to be easy. My advice is that Benue governor should gazette the grazing reserve for indigenous herdsmen as dividends of democracy by build primary schools, healthcare for herdsmen, to bring peace.
“But that, any Fulani who graze openly and is caught will pay N1 million won’t work. No police man will like to go to bush to arrest Fulani man. And no farmer will go to farm for fear because government is creating law to favour only his people.”