From Ali Galadima, Bauchi
Following the herdsmen-farmers clash that claimed nine lives in Misau local government area of Bauchi State, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Bauchi State chapter, has blamed the suspended Caretaker Council Chairman Yaro Gwaram for escalating the crisis.
Speaking with journalists in an interview in his office, MACBAN Chairman in the state, Sadiq Ibrahim Ahmed, State Chairman, said that his association warned the suspended Chairman on several occasions but the warnings were ignored.
Ahmed described the clash as unfortunate incident
“It has happened and we have been trying to prevent it long ago. We commiserate and condole with the people of Misau Local Government. What actually happened is a pity because it was like a deliberate act of the suspended Caretaker Chairman of the local government area who refused to listened to the advice of his subjects,” he said.
“MACBAN has tried all along to tell him (the suspended Caretaker Chairman) to understand that the land and the place in dispute has long been grazing area which had been allocated to farmers. It started when the anchor borrowers scheme started, some of them at the dry season farming thinking that when it comes to the raining season the Fulani nomads will now use it as a grazing land but unfortunately the last Chairman tried all he could do to prevent the crisis but his successor did not understand the issue at hand and he refused to adhere and listen to the complaints of the people who have been complaining.
“The MACBAN in the state as a leading group of its members, we have on several occasions contacted the LG caretaker chairman and other stakeholders to ensure that peace is maintained even before this incidence happened. Just a week or two I cautioned the Chairman to be careful on allocating this area to other people but he turned deaf ears unfortunately he went to the area that day to give out the land to farmers and that was what happened”
The MACBAN Chairman explained that the contentious land belongs to the cattle breeders who had been residing in the area for many years saying that allocating it to farmers was a serious issue.
“This people have long been using this land and have stayed in that place for over a decade and collecting it and bringing in new people is a serious problem. They allocated large hectares of land to other people who are not farmers in the area. So the Fulani cannot go and stay on stone or outside Nigeria because there is a Care-taker chairman, so we cautioned him,” he said.
“Every land in Nigeria belongs to the government whether state or local; government and every Nigeria belongs to a local government which is the grassroots and if the local government wants to use it for the people in the community ,for everybody fine, it is a different thing but collecting it from the people who are indigenes of the state and allocating it to another group of people within the same locality is a serious issue and that is not acceptable in the Nigeria Constitution.
The suspended local government chairman was sentimental and bias and took sides by telling people who are indigenes of the local government who have been living in the area, people who have all privileges in the local government, people who have the right and other facilities to be allocated to them in that area, but he was trying to take over the land not to talk of allocating other government resources to them. So that was the problem”