The revered Emir said a whole range of things that we are currently looking at. The image he painted of Taraba and our people is the very opposite of who we are. We don’t hate Fulani but we must also find ways of saving lives. But one issue everyone is trying to wrap their head around is what he said about warning Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku over the anti open grazing bill. Even if he had warned him privately, the state’s citizens still would have taken exception to that fact: that the governor they elected is being warned over what they want from him. Governor Ishaku is, first and foremost, answerable only to the people who voted him. The idea that a monarch sitting in Kano can summon and warn him is beyond the people’s comprehension. Sovereignty lies with the people.

The anti open grazing bill, now a law, is the result of the collective agreement of the entire people as represented by the House of Assembly. In a sense, the law is even above the governor, who is also a citizen.

The law, for emphasis, is not targeting anyone. It is, even as the cerebral Emir noted, for better production of cows and diary products.

We don’t know how the Emir came about his figures of 800 as the number of Fulani that perished in the Mambilla crisis. As the governor keeps saying, all lives matter to him. During that unfortunate crisis on the beautiful Mambilla, there were casualties on both sides and the governor mourned all those who perished. He’s more interested in forestalling further carnage than counting corpses which we are still grieving over. Governor Ishaku feels the pain of families who lost loved ones. He wept for the Fulani who died and for other tribes who also suffer casualty. Right now, he is more focused on healing wounds, fostering peace and bringing about closure. Not reopening wounds by making allusion to casualties. Those who come up us with such inciting figures are merely deepening divisions at these testy times. They might be failing a cardinal test of leadership: peace making.

The law is aimed at healing wounds. We are hoping that by limiting the contact of farmers and herders through ranching, we can check the confrontations. Because, as long as herders get into farming lands, destroy crops and hurt people, there won’t be peace. We are also checking the incidences of cattle rustling. Before the law was passed, we had a public hearing where we discussed all the fears, concerns of all cattle owners. The process of making the law carried everyone along.

Emmanuel Bello
SSA Public Affairs to Governor Darius

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