According too the Prof. Bashir Haruna Usman the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Nomadic Education, “Nigeria has a total of 22 million cattle valued at N3.4 trillion aside the staggering number of goats and sheep.” This he said “makes up about 50 percent of Nigeria’s total national budget.”
The prof. disclosed this on Monday,during his opening remark at a two-day national conference Speaking on ‘the dynamics of pastoral nomadism in contemporary Nigeria’, initiated by the Federal University of Kashere, Gombe State. Prof. Usman noted that Nigeria cattle was a huge source of revenue that can not only augment revenues from oil but that it also contributed immensely towards the economic diversification thrust of the Federal Government.
While commendin the conference for being initiated at the appropriate time, Prof. Usman said various scholars from across the country would brainstorm during the event with a view to proffering workable solutions for the Federal Government to implement in addressing the lingering farmers/herdsmen clashes. He appreciated the University management for taking the bull by the horn being the first for organizing a national conference accelerated towards finding lasting solutions to the farmers/ herdsmen crisis.
The prof. also cautioned participants from using the term “Fulani herdsmen” during the conference because according to him, “herdsmen have been criminalized and when you introduce ethnicity to this, it becomes unacceptable.” He said the hope of the conference organizers was that after the event, practical solutions would be proffered for subsequent implementation by the Federal Government.
During address by the Convener of the conference, Prof. Alhassan Mohammed Gani the institution Vice Chancellor said “the programme was the first national conference organized by the university as part of its contribution to developing workable solution to national problems and discourse.” Further, Prof Gani announced the theme of the conference, which was titled “The Dynamics of Pastoral Nomadism in Contemporary Nigeria: Problems, Policies and Prospects” Specifically chosen to address a burning national issue that requires scientific and wholistic approach.
The V.C, emphasized that the farmer/herdsmen conflicts that frequently lead to loss of lives, have defied solution over the years, with government forced to go back to the drawing board in order to find lasting solutions.
“It is our expectation therefore that the conference will explore opportunities and support initiatives that will solve the continued herdsmen/farmers clashes in parts of the country,” he said.
According to him, four papers have been lined up for presentation on the first day of the conference, among which are, the lead paper on Managing a Clash of Civilizations:
Issues and Politics of Pastoral Nomadism in Contemporary Nigeria by Prof I.L Bashir, a second paper, Context for Survival between Fulani Pastoralists and Farmers by Dr. Isah Mohammed Abbas. the lead paper by Prof I.L. Bashir blamed government for its failure to fully implement policies put in place to address the issue of nomadism in the country.He criticized government for failing to keep in place areas originally mapped out as cattle routes, which have now been taken over for the purpose of development.
Citing an example, he said “One good example is the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja. It used to be a cattle route but have been taken over by government,”
The conference was attended by representatives of farmers and herdsmen from across the country, the national president of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria and also the national president of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria. Also well traditional rulers braced the event.