Thoughtlessness in Open Grazing

Thoughtlessness in Open Grazing

Thursday, May 20, 2021 7:40 am

File: Fulani herdsmen


By Fred Chukwulobe

If you still wonder why this country is not making progress, why the nation is troubled, wonder no further. Just listen to the chief law officer of the country who is called the attorney general and minister of justice, Shehu Malami, SAN.

Governors of Southern Nigeria comprising those of South East, South South and South West geo-politucal zones, met recently and among many decisions, banned open grazing which allows Fulani herdsmen to move their cows across cities and villages and destroying people’s farmlands and crops in the process. Then our chief law officer, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, goes on national television to defend his Fulani brothers by criticising the decision. He began to speak thoughtlessly.

He spoke in tongues such that those who watched him on Channels TV, heard him speak what sounded like gobbledygook.

He says banning open grazing is akin to banning the sale of vehicles spare parts in the North. This is a business dominated by Igbo of South East, one of the three zones whose governors took the decision. This is a private business of hardworking Igbo people who rent shops, ply their trade individually, help develop areas where they do business and don’t trouble anyone except those they sell “wayo,” refurbished spare parts to.

But our chief law officer wants us to believe that if we can ban open grazing, they can ban our people from selling spare parts in parts of the North, which even he needs to use in servicing the free vehicles he’s been driving since he became a man. He forgot that, first, this is a private business and not government’s. He forgot that cow herding is also a private business and in civilised climes they use ranches and do not destroy people’s livelihoods in the name of open grazing.

Most importantly, he forgot that not only Igbo governors took the decision, but typically of any Northerner, outside of the North, everybody is “nyamili”; everybody is Igbo. Even at his level he still cannot differentiate between who is Igbo and who is not; what is wrong and what is right. Please don’t think he’s alone – that’s the position of the North.

Malami also forgot that parts of the North banned the sale of alcohol, with Kano State known to have destroyed and continues to destroy alcoholic beverages, collect the highest Value Added Tax (VAT) paid on such products and pretends as if nothing happens.

The truth of the matter is that, sometimes, I wonder if being a Northerner means you must oppose everything from the South no matter how thoughtful it is. Must thoughtlessness be a way of life for some of these our brothers?

Pray, what is the correlation between private Igbo people who sell spare parts and mauruding Fulani herdsmen who destroy people’s farmlands and livelihood with animals? Does he even realise that Igbo people are also the highest patrons of these cow sellers? That is, if this matters.

Should we now arm vehicles spare parts dealers with AK47 so that when they sell refurbished spare parts or used ones in place of new ones, if the cheated comes after them, or they are cheated, they should fire? That’s by the way.

Seriously, I think time has come for Northern political and religious leaders to convene a meeting and ask themselves some hard questions. One of such questions should be what they really want in a 21st century Nigeria.

Another question, a very serious soul searching one, is to ask themselves what years of dominating the leadership of this country and valuing cows more than human lives have done for the North.

The North needs to ask itself some questions and stop this thoughtlessness. They need to visit United Arab Emirates (UAE) and see what leadership means.

Open grazing is archaic and should stop except they want to continue to forment trouble in a troubled country.

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