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Mbatinga community orders Fulanis to stop night grazing of cattle;but Fulanis say they can’t be blamed



Mbatinga, a farming community in the Gumsi electoral area in the Mion district of the Northern region has ordered Fulani herdsmen to stop night grazing and suspicious movement in late hours with immediate effect.

The order follows several appeals to herdsmen to stop their cattle from grazing at night when residents are resting at home.

The community members observed that nefarious activities such as the wanton destruction of their farms and shea nut trees and the stealing of cattle are normally done in the night when farmers are asleep.

The community also made a passionate appeal to the Mion district assembly to enact a bylaw that will ban the herdsmen from carrying their sharp cutlasses and assorted weapons to markets and other public places in the area.

The ban according to the community will allay the fears of ordinary citizens in the area who don’t carry nothing. The community which hosted the Fulani for over 15 years now reached the decision at a dialogue meeting between the community and the herdsmen organized by the Ghana Developing Communities Association Empowerment for Life(GDCA-E4L).

The meeting was to find out causes, farm produce destruction, perpetrated by who and how to mitigate security threat that may result.

The farmers couldn’t understand why the cattle were not destroying backyard farms belonging to the herdsmen and yet travel far to destroy farms.

The farmers also want the elderly Fulani’s not to give out the cattle to their children who they said have no control over the cattle.

The farmers were not also happy that, most herdsmen deny allegations of irresponsibility anytime the issue of the destruction of farms crop up. According to the farmers, once the Fulanis are honest and admit guilt, there will be peace but their continued denial and brandishing of sharp weapons angers farmers and warned the elderly ones not to shield criminals among them.

While the community members laid the blame on the Fulanis for the wanton destruction of their farm produce, the Fulanis say they can’t be blamed because most of the cattle belongs to indigenes.

The Fulanis also laid the blame squarely on inadequate grazing space and urged the farmers to leave some land for animals to graze. Everyone including women in this community rear animals without recourse to their grazing places, a herdsmen said.
The Fulanis maintained that, they don’t intentionally allow their cattle to destroy farms but under the current circumstances, they have no option.

“We are human beings and know the right thing, we reason and accusations that we don’t take care of our friends (cattle) is not true,” the herdsmen insisted.

They continued, “We know we are strangers in Ghana and our main occupation is cattle ranching but all the negative tags were not true.”

Field Facilitator at GDCA-E4L program, Ms Faiza Mutala explained that the Fulani issue was chosen as an advocacy one after a community dialogue activity was held on pressing issues affecting them.

The dialogue she explained will enable the community to channel their problems through their assembly member to the district assembly for amicable solutions.

The dialogue was also to facilitate peaceful coexistence among the host communities and the Fulanis to ensure that peace is maintained in the area through effective communication.

Assembly is aware of the Fulani’s activities

Assembly man for Gumsi electoral area, Tahiru Abdulai who corroborated with the community members admitted that, the activities of the herdsmen is before the assembly members for deliberation.

According to him, he raised the issue at the first general meeting of the assembly after several arm robberies in the communities were attributed to them.

The assembly, he added, observed that most herdsmen in the district now own more cattle than indigenes whose cattle they take care of. A decision was reached that Fulani cattle owners should take a large share of punishment to serve as a deterrent to others.

While promising to relate information the general assembly meeting on September 29th, Mr Tahiru called on both the indigenes and the herdsmen to restrain themselves from any violent acts that would mar the peace in the area.

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