Say No to Cattle Colonies

If there is any quick route to civil unrest and more bloodshed in Nigeria, it is the establishment of the Cattle Colony policy being proposed by the Federal Government.
The scourge of herdsmen has been a very sensitive issue in our country in recent years with its attendant destruction of crops of rural dwellers and countless killings of these poor farmers whose crime, in most cases, was daring to challenge the herdsmen for allowing their cattle to ravage their farms.
The attacks by these herdsmen are not restricted to particular parts of the country per se, as they have ravaged the North (Southern Kaduna, Adamawa, Plateau); the West, Middle Belt and the East.
Their attacks have left a trail of deaths, destruction of property, burning of churches and people’s houses and rape of the women folk. Two years ago, the Nimbo Community in Enugu State came under attack, the first of such major attack here in the South East.
Just in the New Year, seventy-three indigenes of Benue State, comprising fathers, mothers, pregnant wives and children, were massacred by these herdsmen. This figure excludes the two policemen that were slaughtered alongside them.
Even though the Federal Government claims that the reason for establishing these cattle colonies borders on the need to curb the incessant bloody clashes between farmers and herdsmen, and also aid in the restructuring of the Nigerian Nation, it is very clear that the resultant effect is that lands will be taken from the indigenes and handed over to the herdsmen which may in turn, trigger further clashes in the future.
This is perhaps why the Federal Government has stated that they would fund the partnership with state governments if they accepted to volunteer lands for this cause.
Some states like Abia and Plateau have been vehement in their refusal to be a part of the creation of these cattle colonies in their states. It is expedient to note that having these colonies mean that social amenities like good roads, schools for the nomads and health facilities will be put in place for them. In other words, there will be new urban centres for Fulanis right in the middle of indigenous communities.
This is a call on not just our South East governors, but our lawmakers, traditional rulers, stakeholders and Ohaneze Ndigbo, to refuse accepting the implementation of this policy with all vehemence. It can only bring more killings and tragic tales in the future. Prevention, they say, is better than cure.