Herdsmen Leaders in Search of Truce as IPOB Braces for Hostilities

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Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN)
Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN)

By Akanimo Sampson

Leaders of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) have started a seeming major initiative aimed at cementing the broken walls of Nigeria as the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has started backstage mobilisation of Igbo youths to stand up to the killer herdsmen.

MACBAN is pressing for the cooperation of all key stakeholders in its bid to resolve the herdsmen crisis in the country. Apparently not persuaded, IPOB said Igbo youths were ready to face the youth wing of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) after the expiration of its 30-day ultimatum.

According to the group that is crusading for Biafra, states of Eastern Nigeria will not succumb to the demand for land for implementation of Ruga settlement programme.

IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, insisted in a statement that they are in support of ranching business in private lands, and not through forcing people to release their ancestral land to anybody.

While advising the Federal Government and those behind the plan to retrace their steps before it turned uncontrollable and claim more innocent lives, Powerful added, “IPOB is a peaceful movement and must remain so but cannot allow anybody to trample on us by forcing our people to release their ancestral land to them.’’

The herders are already in talks with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). They are seeking collaboration with the Christian body in uniting the different religious groups in the country for peaceful resolution of the farmers-herders’ conflicts.

MACBAN National Secretary, Baba Ngelzarma, led their delegation on a courtesy visit to the national leadership of CAN on Wednesday in Abuja, pointing out that they were seeking partnership with CAN to demonstrate their desire toward peace and mutual resolution of the lingering conflicts.

“MACBAN wishes to request the partnership of CAN in uniting the different religious groups in the country for peaceful resolution of the farmers-herders conflicts. We should unite against hatred and support all government initiatives toward solving the conflict,’’ he said and acknowledged the increasing tension between farmers and their members in the last five years due to scarcity of pasture over grazing reserve as a result of climate change.

“MACBAN was duly aware of the effort by the federal government in conjunction with state governors to address the farmers-herders conflicts through the 10-year National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) 2019 to 2028,’’ Ngelzarma said, claiming that they have they have fully embraced the plan and have trained their leaders at all levels on negotiation, peace building and conflicts prevention in preparation for the plan.

Continuing, he said MACBAN recognised the need to partner government to modernise livestock production as proposed in the NLTP: “We believe the 10 years plan will guarantee efficient time for pastoralists to learn new techniques of Livestock production. MACBAN will require that government implements the plan as designed in order to assist the pastoralists through proper extension services and training over the plan period to properly learn how to manage livestock efficiently.

“We seek the cooperation of CAN to be part of our national campaign to reorient our youth to fear the Almighty, inculcate values of hard work, empathy and being our brother’s keeper irrespective of their faith. The pastoralists have lived peacefully for ages with different nationalities and had learned to resolve their quarrels peacefully. Like all other communities we have our bad eggs and we have not relented in fishing them out all across the country.

“We have been to Ebonyi, Ekiti, Enugu, Katsina, Oyo and now Zamfara to assist in resolving conflicts with our members. We are grateful with the level of understanding and cooperation we have received from the state governments in resolving some of these security issues. As part of effort to address the farmers-herders conflicts, MACBAN has resolved to embark on a number of stakeholder engagements which it began with the leadership of CAN.’’

While pointing out that the engagements include a summit that will involve people from all walks of life, Ngelzarma, who condemned the killing of Mrs Funke Olakunri, the daughter of Pa Reuben Fasoranti, the leader of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, urged Nigerians to desist from politicising the killing.

CAN Leader, Rev. Supo Ayokunle, in his response, urged all Nigerians to be prayerful for the plan of the devil for the country not to be achieved. “I will urge all of us to be prayerful because I see the devil at work, provoking men to do things that are very odd, things that for years ago you cannot think can happen in Nigeria.

“Devil is at work and it will make us to be fighting ourselves. If we are not careful we with not be able to chase him out. It is with our collectivity that we can chase the devil away’’, he said.

Commending MACBAN for the initiative with their National President, Muhammadu Kirowa, and other national leaders of the two groups in attendance, Ayokunle  said, “We have received your move with appreciation, we will sit down articulate it to be well informed on all these proposal you have raised.’’