Posted by News Express | 20 May 2018 | 1,050 times
Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has thrown its full weight behind the quest by the West African Action Network on Small Arms (WAANSA) Nigeria, to rid the subregion of small arms and light weapons.
National secretary of MACBAN, Bala Othman Ngelzama gave the cheery news today in Abuja when WAANSA Nigeria officials, led by its President Jephthah Asimole, paid him a courtesy visit as part of activities marking the 2018 Global Week of Action Against Gun Violence.
MACBAN, the umbrella body of cattle herders and pastoralists in Nigeria has largely been seen, erroneously by many, as chiefly responsible for the frequent herdsmen - farmer clashes that had left thousands dead and devastated farming communities across large swathes of Nigeria.
The Miyetti Allah scribe, however, said cattle herders were the real victims of the clashes and believe that supporting WAANSA Nigeria to rid the troubled areas of small arms and light weapons would help bring an end to the violence.
“We have lost a lot of herdsmen to criminals who rustle our cattle and kidnap our people for ransom. They use small arms to unleash terror and people who lose loved ones or have their farms destroyed then turn on innocent pastoralists and their families, believing that they are the perpetrators. Porous borders, a lack of education and the influx of cheap, harmful drugs has made an extremely dangerous situation even more toxic. It’s, therefore, our joy to know that an organisation like WAANSA Nigeria is committed to the fight to eliminate small arms from the subregion and MACBAN will support you fully.”
Ngelzama, who said herders and farmers were critical to the overall well-being of the country, fingered government inaction as being largely responsible for the continued bloody violence between pastoralists and farmers.
“Government needs to help us revive the old grazing reserves that have been depleted by years of overgrazing and we also need them to help us conduct another census of the real pastoralists and their assets. This will help us to plan better on how to control our members and know those who claim to be herdsmen, yet carry arms. We hope WAANSA Nigeria can help us to reinforce this message.”
Earlier in his speech, WAANSA Nigeria President Jephthah Asimole had introduced his organisation to the MACBAN boss and sought for his support in the fight against the spread of small arms.
“We’re here to solicit your support in what we are doing. We want to believe that you have the authority to ensure that your men rear their cattle in peace and you are crucial in the quest to disarm those who have gone rogue and carry arms in order to defend themselves on the grazing routes. We have the backing of the United Nations and the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, as key partners and we believe with the support of Miyetti Allah, the target will be achieved.”
WAANSA Nigeria, as part of its advocacy initiative during the Global Week of Action against Gun Violence, has also paid visits to
reputable media organisations and security agencies in the Federal Capital Territory.
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