There are a number of fundamental questions which all these talk about cattle colonies have thrown up about the rights of the Fulani as Nigerians; about the current status of pastoralism in cattle production; about the rights of the federal government to intervene on behalf of a single group by imposing a policy literally of land expropriation in order to settle a historically migrant group, and indeed about whether the federal government is not creating or even abetting a national security quagmire in its Fulani policy, by initiating a program which would hobble the sovereign capabilities of other existing sub-nationalities within the current Nigerian nationality.  The Federal Government's plan to establish cattle colonies as a way of checking the incessant herdsmen/farmers clashes has continued to attract reactions and vast interest by analysts.

Reports from across the states indicated that the policy has become an issue for discussion at newspaper stands, social joints, eateries and offices, with anxious Nigerians condemning it. Many state governments as well as ethnic and regional associations have met over the policy and took positions, while many more are still conferring before deciding. Already, many states in the south have openly rejected the policy, while some governors in the north, who earlier endorsed the idea, have backed out.

The idea of cattle colony has remained largely unpopular because it sounds "rather abstract''. Many people suspect that it may be a tool being used to achieve some sinister agenda. There are many posers. If the land is acquired and the cattle colony is established, who owns that land? Who controls it? Does it belong to the Federal Government, traditional communities or families from whom it had been acquired? "What of the economic trees in such lands? Do they belong to the original owners of the land or the herdsmen occupying the colonies?'' People have expressed the fear that the cattle colonies could turn out to be "states'' within a state because they would be autonomous communities whose life style might not be the same as their host communities. If cattle colonies are established then herders will increase in number and seek more land to occupy which could cause more clashes. Again, the lands to be donated are arable lands belonging to people which deny them of their ancestral property.

If each state donates 10,000 hectares of land as proposed, it will translate to 370,000 hectares of land mass given to a group for personal business. Nigerian communities are agrarian in nature and need lands for their agricultural activities; taking away scarce arable lands will impede farming activities in rural communities. The best step is to encourage individual cattle owners to acquire land for ranching which is the practise in other civilised climes.

The proposed cattle colonies cannot work; you cannot just take somebody's land and give to another person to conduct his own business; it is not right. Cattle colonies and ranches are "political creations'' by politicians to bring disharmony between farmers and herdsmen.  The regulation should be that you only graze where there are no farms. If you destroy farmlands intentionally or unintentionally, you must be punished for what you have done and be made to pay for what you have destroyed.

Cattle rearing is a private business and as such, the herdsmen must buy lands for their business and not for the federal government to confiscate people's lands and hand them over to private business men. Providing land for 'Cattle Colony' will be tantamount to putting Nigerians under Fulani herdsmen siege and perpetual enslavement of Nigerians. 

The Fulani herdsmen have been terrorizing the people of North East and other states of Nigeria. Come to think of it, when they have no place called their own in such states and they go about killing and maiming innocent citizens; one will then imagine what they will do when lands are provided for them for establishing Cattle Colony, only God will save the people of the state where they will be occupying. Giving them Cattle Colony will amount to giving them take off point for unleashing more terror on Nigerians.

The Fulani herdsmen have been having their ways unhindered in terrorizing states and communities, with the Federal Government of Nigeria turning blind eyes to their heinous crime of massacring people in their homes, they are so emboldened that their leaders openly, proudly and stupidly tell Nigerians why they struck in some states, without Federal Government frowning at such unguarded statements. Nigerians cannot afford to fold their hands while people are put under perpetual siege and everlasting enslavement in their God given land. People must exist freely in their land, anybody doing business must provide for all his needs in such business activities. Herdsmen should learn how to conduct themselves peacefully where ever they are found in the states of the federation, so that they will be peacefully accommodate by the citizens of such states, they should not move into the states to destroy peoples farm and kill them because they feel that their brother is the President of Nigeria and therefore, turn blind eyes to their criminal activities and make them feel that they are above the law.

Violations of laws must follow the prescribed penalties and consequences including fines, seizures of the cattle, and even jail for repeat or defiant offenders. Nigerians are actually saying that new methods of animal husbandry, including ranching must be explored by the Fulani operators of the cattle business, as well as other Nigerians willing to invest in the business of animal production. The search for grazing land by the herdsmen leads to, often violent encounters, and these encounters have created the fear of the armed intruder who is harassing and displacing long tenured owners of the land, as they move southwards, and who are backed by the force or the might of the federal government, with a Fulani president. It is the federal government, through a generally incompetent policy or mechanism that has created this problem of the Fulani herdsmen.

There is the question of distrust: the Miyetti Allah, armed to the teeth, has been given the full license to kill without consequence, and have taken to forceful occupation of places they consider grazing areas. This must be curbed. The Fulani does not have the right, even so forcefully backed by a central power and a policy of appeasement by the Federal government, to occupy land that they just feel like occupying, but which belongs to another by long tenure. I hope the creation of cattle colony in all the states of the federation is not another form of modern slavery where Nigerians will be captured and eventually turned to Fulanis and eventually forced to become Muslims.  God forbid!!!

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