04/11/2019 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria announced plans to restore cattle grazing routes through the country for Fulani herdsman. He claims that having these paths will resolve the conflicts between the Fulani herdsman and Christian farmers in the country’s Middle Belt region.
However, the conflict between herders and farmers is not only because of grazing and land rights. It also involves ethnic, religious, and political factors. Resolving land conflicts will only alleviate part of the problem. Fulani extremists often raid farming settlements in order to kill, intimidate, and destroy Christian communities based on ethnic and religious differences. Oftentimes a village’s church is the first building to be burned.
In Buhari’s comment on the issue, he completely neglected to address the difficulties faced by the Christian farmers that have been victimized by Fulani extremists. His apathy to this issue is apparent through his choice to create programs that do not aid Christian farmers, but mostly benefit the Fulani.
While, grazing routes may help Fulani stay off Christian farmland, it will not help redevelop Christian communities that have been devastated by decades of raids. The problem should be addressed from both sides of the issues in order to bring about a peaceful resolution for all.
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