Farmers vs Herders: Abdusalami’s Treaty With West African Neighbours Behind Crisis, Audu Ogbeh Alleges

Farmers vs Herders: Abdusalami’s Treaty With West African Neighbours Behind Crisis, Audu Ogbeh Alleges

  • Audu Ogbeh, a former minister under the administration of ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, has reacted to the incessant farmers-herders crisis
  • He stated that the regularly accused Fulanis are not the ones behind the killings of farmers in Nigeria
  • Ogbeh, however, blamed it on an ECOWAS treaty that allows sub-regional nations to come into Nigeria with their cattle and graze

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FCT, Abuja - The former minister of agriculture, Audu Innocent Ogbeh, said Fulanis are not to be blamed for Nigeria's incessant farmers and herders clash.

The 75-year-old stated this in Abuja on Wednesday, June 21, while answering questions on the ravaging hunger and poverty in Nigeria caused by farmland insecurity.

Audu Ogbeh, farmers, herders, Fulani
The former minister of agriculture said there is a need to review the ECOWAS treaty of sub-regional grazing. Photo Credit: Audu Ogbeh
Source: Getty Images

He said:

"The Nigerian indigenous Fulani man has never been a problem...Nigerian cattle have never been the source of trouble we have now."

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Ogbeh, the lead keynote speaker at the launching of the young women in Agriculture (YWA) champions in Nigeria, said the issue of insecurity in farmlands could easily be curbed if appropriate measures are induced.

He said the locals in every community know these perpetrators except for the foreign headers from neighbouring countries.

Ogbeh blamed this on a treaty signed under the administration of the former head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar.

He told that:

"Local people know who the troublemakers are except for the foreign ones who come in because of certain agreements that we (Nigeria) signed about cattle moving in here from West Africa to graze, it is wrong and should be revoked."

He continued:

''You can say cows from Mauritania, Mali, and Senegal can come into Nigeria to graze. Many of them come armed when they arrive, they see that there's so much grass here, they don't want to go back."

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Foreign herders behind killings - Ogbeh

Ogbeh noted that some of these foreign herders end up killing local farmers as a solution to staying put in Nigeria and annexing the lands of the locals.

He said there is a need to cancel the agreement and sit on it for it to be properly addressed before it becomes chaotic.

Ogbeh was referring to the grazing law signed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which allows unrestricted movement of animals for grazing across all countries in the sub-region.

Ogbeh, on the other hand, said Nigeria's interest must be protected first and should remain paramount before any other thing.

Ogbeh calls for President Tinubu's intervention

He stated that he had copies of the law and would present it to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to see and urged other West African countries to design their ranches.

He said:

"I don't know if you have seen the copy, but that agreement was signed by Abdusalami (former head of state) at the level of ECOWAS."

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When asked about the importance of young people in agriculture, Ogbeh said they are the future and cannot run away from their responsibilities. He said the farming population is ageing, and the young must step up.

He, however, acknowledged that the young population of farmers needed help and empowerment to start the revolution.

Again, armed herders attack Benue IDPs camp, kill 43, injure many

Meanwhile, some suspected herdsmen have attacked an IDP camp in the Guma LGA of Benue state and killed about 43 persons.

It was reported that the primary schools where the internally displaced were camped were attacked by the attackers at about 10 pm on Friday.

The killing followed a similar attack in the Umogidi village of the Enetekpa Adoka district of the Otukpo LGA of the state, where 52 lives were lost.


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