Adamu: Fulani/farmers conflict: The Jigawa initiative
“In line with our philosophy, we appear only when where there are challenges, but I must admit we are dumb-founded, more than shocked and astonished by the report, and of course we will take it as part of our dark history while putting up a mechanism to forestall all future occurrences.”– Sule Lamido, Tuesday, January 1, 2008
CLASHES between pastoralists and farmers are worsening in many parts of the country due to disputes over grazing reserves and water sources, but the present administration in Jigawa State under Sule Lamido is far ahead of all others in tackling this social problem. The state government has established 400 grazing reserves, 50 of which have already been gazetted. Grazing reserves tend to be merely unattended bush in other places but in Jigawa State, Lamido has seen to it that they are equipped with facilities such as windmills, power pumps and boreholes as well as improved grass and resting facilities.
The effort to establish and demarcate grazing reserves in Jigawa State was part of a multi-dimensional approach adopted by Lamido early in the day to address the perennial problem of clashes between pastoralists and farmers which claimed many lives in the state. Another aspect of the strategy was the setting up of security and sensitization committees to monitor the situation, as well as the payment of compensation to victims of past crises in order to discourage them from seeking revenge.
Similarly, in its effort to encourage and enhance the pastoralists, Jigawa State Government launched the 2014/2015 animals vaccination exercise recently in Birnin-Kudu Local government area in the state in which the state government vaccinated 3,438,590 cattle against diseases in the past seven and-half-years 2007-2014. Also the state government had immunised 1, 611, 197 sheep and goats, while 53, 450 dogs were also vaccinated against rabies.
Due to routine vaccination, the devastating diseases that often affected animals in the state had declined significantly. Also, the government has included poultry in the programme to prevent Newcastle disease. Jigawa state government often purchases assorted veterinary drugs for farmers at subsidized prices and modern surgical equipment for nine veterinary clinics across the state. Lamido’s administration had invested a lot of resources on agriculture as the mainstay of the economy. Also, the economic and investment summit in the state in 2013 was convened by Lamido because of his commitment and efforts in the Agricultural sector, in which more than 80 per cent of the investors who participated at the summit expressed willingness to invest in agro-allied industries in the state.
An accompanying aspect of this overall social policy also discourages allowing domestic animals to roam freely in towns and cities. Cattle, goats and sheep contribute in making towns dirty, and cause accidents, hence the new policy that makes their owners to tether them in their houses.
This far-reaching social policy was not restricted to the animals and pastoralists alone. It also accommodates the children of the herdsmen. Jigawa state government has established many nomadic schools in the state to accommodate a large population of Fulani children. The governor approved that all nomadic schools in the state must be funded, equipped and staffed while ensuring that the children are taught both Islamic and western education respectively.
Sule Lamido followed up his initiatives (administrative policies) with another project that facilitates easy access to him. He has a dedicated GSM phone line by which citizens can reach him in order to complain, offer advice, suggest and object or criticize his government’s policies and programmes. The Talakawa’s leader, attends to everyone who texts or calls without intimidation, humiliation, victimization or deprivation. It is not for nothing that citizens of Jigawa State speak of the Lamido as a governor, mentor, leader, guardian, father and a messiah.
• Adamu is Special Adviser to Jigawa State governor on Media.