October 4, 2017
Fulani are starting to view anti open grazing bill favorably, as 97% youth endorse it.
A random sampling of opinion by KWARARAFA REPORTERS has shown that some Fulani are beginning to view the anti open grazing bill in good lights even as support for it among youth is now near total. Some of the respondents who spoke to KR said their hope for lasting peace in the state is hinged on the bill.
Curiously, some young Fulani herdsmen have a good word for the bill, noting that the intentions might not be bad after all. A Fulani lawyer based in Jalingo who doesn’t want his name in print said he does not see anything abnormal about the bill.
He said, “I just got back from seeing my family and I told them the bill is harmless. That shocked them because they have been told lies. They have been told that the bill would stop them from selling cows or even as far as rearing them.
There is a lot of misconception out there. I was laughing. So I read the bill to them in fulfulde and watched as their reaction changed. They have since dissociate themselves from any anti bill protests.
We have peace loving Fulani whose worries are just the cow rustling thing that affects them. Happily, the bill is actually aimed at making livestock production better and even safer for the grazers.”
The lawyer who intends to embark on a sensitization effort blamed the Taraba state government media for not mounting an effective campaign. He said, “the media should have been more proactive.
I think the SA New Media, Nelson, made an attempt once to do a press statement in fulfulde. The entire bill needs to be translated into more native dialects.
The media team should be on platforms where Fulani go to for their news like radio stations. Fulani in government should immediately fan out into the hinterland to speak with our people. The bill is just mired in controversy. No educated person who reads it would fault it.”
A pastor who is Fulani based in Jalingo also blames the current confusion on lack of proper information management. The pastor (name withheld) told KR that as fulanis who are also Christians, there is a lot of mix ups in people’s knowledge base about Fulani.
He said, “the notion that as Fulani herdsmen, we don’t support the bill in his entirety is erroneous. I’m a Christian. I know many Fulani Christians who are also herdsmen.
We support the bill. We can assist in enlightenment. Our church has an outreach arm and although we preach only Christ, we are willing to help throw light on the bill.”
The pastor said many fulanis are aware of the activities of some politicians to cause problems. He said, “I’m appealing to some Christians to stop vilifying Fulani. We have more wealth in cows to lose when there is crisis. We want peace. Those who want trouble are few but they are loud politicians.”
Meanwhile, a new survey has shown that the acceptability of the bill is now near total as more youths told KR that they are favourably dispose to it.