The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III and the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) on Friday converged in Abuja to address challenges confronting pastoralists in the country, NAN reports.
Sultan, who is the Chairman Board of Trustees of the association, harped on the need to find workable solutions to address security and socio-economic challenges confronting members of the association.
The Sultan who decried the stereotyping of Fulani herdsmen and associating them with crime stated that it was not every criminality perpetrated in the country that was done by the Fulanis.
Abubakar, however, emphasised the need for pastoralists to respect constituted authority and shun all forms of acts capable of tarnishing their reputations.
On his part, Dr Usman Bugaje, A senior Advisor to the Sultan, stated that the objective of the meeting was to ensure a genuine search for solutions to the entire problem affecting the Fulanis in the country.
“We are helping at the secretariat level to bring out the issues and see how we can look at other economic, social and even ethnic dimensions to the problems,” he said.
Bugaje disclosed that a mechanism would be created that would engage the government, Fulani leaders and non-Fulani leaders, criminals elements and every stakeholder to address incidents.
“And, there are timelines put into it, we have agreed that there will be a timeline, we are not going to leave it open.
“Because we need to get it done within one year maximum from now if all the stakeholders are ready to cooperate,” Bugaje said.
He decried the decomposition of society and total erosion of the values that have kept the fabric of the society together over the years.
The National Secretariat of MACBAN, Baba Ngelzarma, urged the Federal Government to address social support programmes of pastoralists with a view to educate and empower them.
He also emphasised the needs for the government to initiate programmes that would take idle pastoralists out of criminality and engage them to learn other skills in addition to cattle rearing.
“Even the cattle rearing are they getting money? Their cattle are not competing with the ones you have in other parts of the world that weigh 700 to 800 kilograms per cow.
“The milk output is also not competing with the other ones in the world where one single cow is given output of 50 litres per day.
“We still hold the outdated species of the cow that are weighing not more than 100 to 120 kilograms and given out an output of milk that is not more than three to five litres per day.
“So, a lots need to be done by government, religious leaders, traditional rulers and pastoralist associations,” he said.
He stated that MCBAN was a peace loving association, adding that it was never a criminals association “because we have Sultan as our Chairman Board of Trustees.”
Ngelzarma enjoined members of the association in the South West to remain peaceful, stop farm destruction, stop night grazing, respect the people’s culture and tradition.
He also admonished them to recognise the laid down rules and regulations and avoid criminality.