The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has advised Nigeria to borrow a leaf from Ghana by establishing cattle ranches to resolve the deadly conflict between farmers and herders.
The conflict has led to gruesome killings especially along the Benue River valley in the North-central part of Nigera, with Benue and Plateau states most affected.
Following similar deadly clashes, the government of neighbouring West African country, Ghana, last week announced it was establishing cattle ranches in the areas worst affected.
In a statement on Monday by its Director, Ishaq Akintola, and made available to journalists in Ibadan, MURIC urged Nigerians to adopt a holistic approach to killings occurring in the country.
“Farmer-herder clashes are common everywhere, particularly in West Africa and Nigeria is not an isolated case but we are behaving as if Nigeria is an island.
“Take Ghana as an example. Earlier this year, cattle rustlers invaded farmlands in Ashanti, Volta, Brong Ahafo and the Eastern regions leading to killings and the destruction of farms.
“But Ghanaians did not crucify their president because of the clashes but solve the problem by establishing their first cattle ranch last week at Afram Plains in the eastern region. It plans to establish more in the Volta and Ashanti regions.
“It is time to face realities. We must borrow a leaf from Ghana. That country is as multi-religious and multi-cultural as Nigeria,’’ Akintola said.
Mr Akintola said herders and farmers clashes can be avoided if Nigeria objectively considers the recommendation for the establishment of ranches.
He said Ghanaian President Akufo-Addo had in March expressed his administration’s intention to establish cattle ranches to curb the menace of herders.
“He has succeeded in doing that because Ghanaians did not look at their tribe or religion. They considered what will benefit them,’’ Mr Akintola said.
Mr Akintola blamed politicians, tribal bigots and a section of the media on the spread of wrong information about killings around the country.
“Nigerian lawmakers should take the lion share of the blame, followed by the citizens and the media.
“They should all accept their culpability in this peculiar mess instead of blaming the executive since the latter has done what is humanly possible within the law,’’ Mr Akintola said.
He said it was unfair to blame President Muhammadu Buhari for Nigeria’s inability to stop killings because security was a collective responsibility, particularly the different arms of government.
“The executive, judiciary, legislature and the press as the fourth estate of the realm also has a vital role to play as well as the citizens.
“The legislature, instead of cooperating with the executive, is an open enemy even in a sensitive matter like the security of lives and property.
“As killings occur on a daily basis, Buhari made a move in April to procure more weapons to fight insecurity but the senate turned down the request.
“National Assembly made so much fuss about Buhari’s request for $1 billion from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, threatening to impeach him for approving its release without its consent.
“The same self-serving legislature delayed the budget for seven months just to get back at the executive and of course no money can be released before the Appropriation Act is signed into law.
“NASS also declined to accede to Buhari’s request to approve the sum of $496 million for the procurement of Super Tucano aircraft from the United States.
“Yet Nigerians failed in their duty to question the right of their lawmakers to endanger their lives,’’ Mr Akintola said.
He said the recent revelation by a lawmaker, Ahmed Maje, that certain politicians sponsored killers and assassins who were trained in Israel has completely absolved President Buhari in the killings.