OPINION: The Hidden Agenda Of Grazing Reserve: Why Benue State Will Never Accept It

By: Terfa Naswem

Based on the hospitality and generosity of the Benue people, giving grazing reserve to the Fulani Herdsmen wouldn’t have been a problem. But two of the pressing questions that erupt when the issue of grazing reserve is mentioned are: “How will you give grazing reserve to Fulani Herdsmen when they have no value for human lives?” What are the assurances and guarantees that if such grazing reserves are established, the Fulani Herdsmen will not cause more trouble?”

I have deeply understood the sociological and physiological beliefs of the Fulani Herdsmen and I certainly know that grazing reserve will never make the situation better but worse. If the Fulani Herdsmen were peace loving people, certain factors would have been ignored but ignoring them will lead to a long lasting crisis in future.

I have anticipated the outcome of many events that involved the Fulani Herdsmen and farmers or anyone else but such anticipated outcome turned to be deadlier than I imagined.

For those governors who are supporting grazing reserve including other supporters might not know the danger they are putting their communities and state into.

Anyone who is supporting grazing reserve should ask the following questions:
1. Who are these Fulani herdsmen and what is their intention?
2. Are they the owners of the cattle or they are hired to take care of those cattle?
3. If they are hired to take care of the cattle what are the intentions of their masters?
4. If they are given grazing reserve will they leave in peace with the host communities or they will continue being hostile?

Any governor who supports grazing reserve should site the reserve in his own Local Government and hometown so that when the heat starts his people will be the first to face it.

The hidden dangers of grazing reserve are to be taken very seriously. First, if grazing reserve is established such land will permanently belong to the Fulani Herdsmen and that is how they will begin to come in large numbers to settle there and over time, they will demand for more land to be given to them for grazing claiming that the available one is no more enough and gradually they will begin to encroach on the land and will one day begin to claim ownership and demand to be treated as indi
genes of the land and when that is not done, more crises will erupt. Second, since most of the crises between Fulani herdsmen and farmers are caused by Fulani Herdsmen, even when grazing reserve is established, they will not stop causing crisis. And lastly, they will turn such grazing reserves as breeding grounds for terrorists.

As far as Benue State is concerned, no grazing reserve will be established in the state. If the Fulani Herdsmen feel like killing people innocently is there power let them continue. Until the day the Fulani Herdsmen kill everybody in Benue State that is when they can establish their grazing reserve. The Benue people cannot give their land to people who have no regard for human lives.

President Buhari, the federal government and the Fulani Herdsmen should take note.


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