By: Valentine Adese,
In this media interactive session with selected Journalist in Plateau State, Distinguished, Senator Jonah David Jang, questioned why the Federal Government (FG) is interested in creating Ranches or Colonies for Fulani Herdsmen when they are not Nigerians and many more.READ PART OF THE EXCERPTS BELOW:
People have been killing Nigerians and they were referred to as unknown gunmen but now they have been identified as Fulani herdsmen, does this give you a source of worry and concern?
Those of you, who were here on the Plateau when I was serving as governor, can just guess my answer to this question.
I am bound to be very worried and concerned because, it is a problem that I faced for good eight years when I was governor. I have tried to make people understand that I also inherited this same problem from the previous administrations and I think I went headlong to tackle it.
I believe that I had achieved quite a lot despite my rather disadvantaged position for been called then as the Chief-Security Officer of a state without any means of enforcing anything. I believe it is the same situation today.
We cannot continue this way! Some of us grew up here with these Fulani Herdsmen and we know the quantity of cows that have always been around the Plateau.
But, suddenly, now we are seeing people coming from wherever because, we don’t know where they are coming from. I have asked this question in the senate whether this people are dropping from heaven.
You find out that, the geopolitical areas where they are now operating are not border areas. So, if they are coming through our borders, then, why are they not doing the same thing with the border states rather than coming into the hinter lands?
Which means somebody is giving them access from the border into the hinter lands. So, it become a great area of worry.
And when they are even arrested, one or two hours, they would disappear into thin air and you don’t hear about them again!
Those days herdsmen carrying sticks but, these days, herdsmen carry guns and killing people at will. So, I believe these people not really herdsmen. They are coming to accomplish a purpose and I believe that the purpose is to try to occupy land and unfortunately, the present administration does not seem to be up and doing to solve this problem and that gives me a lot of suspicion.
There is this latest issue of cattle colony, do you think this policy would bring about the desired peace and unity that the people want to have in Nigeria?
I have said that we were colonized by the British; we cannot be colonies by herdsmen again! What do they mean by colonies? Look, cattle rearing is farming. There are farmers in very diverse areas, why do we want to give cattle rearing such level of priority? Will they give the same level of priority to those who are rearing dogs or to those who are rearing pigs, or to those who are rearing whatever, snakes and so on?
This is a private business! I had said when I was in government that to me, we have seen our cow owners how they are settled in United States (US) and how they have been settled in other state and other developed and developing countries and so on.
These people should buy land and probably settle down in some ranches. They have to buy and not government! But, I am more concerned about the ones that we know are Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria and not the ones coming across the border.
Each country must contain its own herdsmen and not using the ECOWAS Free Movement, to start throwing their own problems to our country. This is unacceptable!
What do you think is the solution to farmers/herders clash, especially with these attacks?
The government has to take some drastic action(s). I have said it, these people are not Nigerians! They are trying to come that Fulanis have no boundaries. There is no body in this world that does not have a boundary from where he/she comes from. They are coming from somewhere or where have they being before? I am 70 years plus, I didn’t see this kind of Fulanis in my early days in life!
So, where are they coming from? They should be sent back to where they are coming from and then let’s contain the ones we have. We use to have our way of settling problems Fulani men when a crop in the farm eating up most times without going to court.
But these ones that are carrying guns and killing people cannot be people who are coming to be part of Nigeria. They must not be allowed!
Would accept that taxes placed on Cattle should be re-introduced, if the federal government still insist on creating ranches?
Why should the federal government create ranches? It is none of their business to create ranches. I have said it here. If I am a farmer, I would go and look for farm and do my farming. Will government give me money to go and look for a farm and buy? I would rather borrow from the Bank, buy land and do my farming.
So, they are doing their own agriculture as animal husbandry so, government has no business. Secondly everybody has to pay tax in this country no matter the name you call it! Anybody who uses government facilities must pay tax. The Fulanis drink water and have also began to settle in cities. So, like every other Nigerian, they must pay tax. Tax must not be channeled to a particular group of people!
Recently, the former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, wrote a letter to president Buhari, advising him not to seek for a second term and just today, we just learn that IBB has written a similar letter to the president. Don’t you think this is heating up the polity and where do you stand sir?
Well, every Nigerian has the right to vie. After words, the president did not take himself to the villa, he was elected. Maybe these people who are asking him not to contest again, voted for him and they are now telling him that, “we cannot vote for you again”. That is the way I understand it.
So, they have the right to express their own views or opinion. Is now left to the president decide on whether he wants to contest or not. If he wants to contest, then, the Nigerian voters would then decide.
You belong to the opposition party. Do you think he has done well to deserve a reelection?
When we were doing well, did they tell us that we were doing well? When we even performed, they are pursuing us all over the place. They are not performing and everybody knows that one.
Sir, in this democracy, we expect the people voting him out and not individual…cut in..
Are those individuals not part of the people? They are expressing their views! Some would not talk but would express it throw voting. But they have decided to express their own throw written communication and I believe they would express it through voting if president Buhari decides to re-contest. I hope you understand it?