Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, said since independence, farmers have enjoyed the benefits of democracy while herdsmen were neglected.
He lamented that herdsmen (whose 90% are Fulanis) also add to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product but no one cares about their education or wellbeing.
Bello added that it’s now time to cater for the herdsmen in order to have “everlasting peace.”
The governor stated this on Friday at the Government House in Minna, the state capital, while addressing journalists on progress made to secure the release of abducted students and members of staff of Government Science College, Kagara.
According to him, the government was exploring kinetic and non-kinetic methods to secure the release of the abductees.
Bello also said he would be meeting with stakeholders at the grassroots to proffer a solution to the insecurity in the state.
He said, “I have called for a meeting with all the first-class emirs on Tuesday and all the Fulani heads to discuss. Sometimes, we need to understand ourselves to find solutions. May be they also have problems, maybe. So, we need to talk to them to read their minds and to understand what their problems are, so that we can address it.
“The truth of the matter is that since independence, no one has paid attention to herdsmen who are mostly Fulanis because not all herdsmen are Fulanis but 90 percent are Fulanis. Nobody has paid attention to them, no one has paid attention to their education, all we do is we see them on market days, they come and we see them and we laugh. Nobody paid attention.
So, they were moving from place to place with their cattle being attacked but now the time has come to stop all that practice, it is no longer feasible, there are no longer cattle routes anymore. As long as they move their cattle from different towns, different states, down South, there will be problem because there are no more cattle routes, the population has increased, we are about 200 million now, more people are farming.
“We have paid more attention to farmers, all the programmes, all the incentives to farmers, zero to herders. They (herders) also add to the GDP, they also will increase our economy, they also can create jobs if planned very well. So, the time has come to look at them to capture them very well in the system and that must be done for everlasting peace.”