Leaders of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) have launched a charm offensive to seek the cooperation of all key stakeholders to resolve the herdsmen crisis in the country.
Their first port of call was the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), with MACBAN leaders seeking collaboration with the association in uniting the different religious groups in the country for peaceful resolution of the farmers-herders’ conflicts.
The National Secretary of MACBAN, Baba Ngelzarma led the delegation of MACBAN officials on a courtesy visit to the National leadership of CAN on Wednesday in Abuja.
Ngelzarma said MACBAN sought partnership with CAN to demonstrate its 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 that MACBAN acknowledged the increasing tension between farmers and its members in the last five years due to scarcity of pasture over grazing reserve as a result of climate change.
Ngelzarma said that 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.
He said that the association had embraced the plan fully and had already trained her national and state executives on negotiation, peace building and conflicts prevention in preparation for the plan.
The national secretary said that 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.
“Both MACBAN and the umbrella body of farmers, AFAN, benefited in training organised by the Presidency on peace-building and conflict resolution.
Ngelzarma said that MACBAN also looked forward to more engagement with CAN as a body and other stakeholders in the Nigerian project.
“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 brothers keeper irrespective of their faith.”
He said that pastoralists had lived peacefully for ages with different nationalities and had learned to resolve their quarrels peacefully.
He, however, noted that the media were making it look like the pastoralists were perpetually at war with other communities.
“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.”
He said that as part of effort to address the farmers-herders conflicts, MACBAN had resolved to embark on a number of stakeholder engagements which it began with the leadership of CAN.
The engagements according to him include a summit that would involve people from all walks of live as well as multiple engagements with the media at various levels across the country.
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.
He also urged Nigerians to desist from dressing it in ethnic garb and allow the security to do its work.
“We are also reaffirming our call on the Police and other security agencies to do all they can to get to the root of this dastardly killing and ensure diligent prosecution of any individual or group found to have had a hand in the incident.”
Ngelzarma said that MACBAN as a responsible association did not condone criminals and criminalities within or outside the association but ever willing to assist the security in ensuring peace reigned.
He denied the allegation on the social media that the association donated N3 billion to a candidate of a political party in Akwa Ibom in exchange for the establishment of cattle colonies in the state.
In his response, the National Chairman of CAN, Rev. Supo Ayokunle, 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.”
Ayokunle commended MACBAN for the call for collaboration, pledging that CAN would discuss the proposal and get back to the association.
“We have received your move with appreciation, we will sit down articulate it to be well informed on all these proposal you have raised,” he said.
Also at the event was the National President of MACBAN, Muhammadu Kirowa, and other national leaders of both CAN and MACBAN.