Cattle-herding used to be a part of a simple nomadic lifestyle associated with the Fulani tribe in Nigeria.
In recent years, however, what used to be both culturally appealing and a serious lifestyle slowly metamorphosed into becoming a deadly cover-up for filthy political joue in the country.
From the killings in the middle-belt regions of Benue and Plateau to the on and off disturbances in Eastern and Southern Nigeria, the same reports keep coming up: The Fulani herdsmen are responsible for a chunk of slaughter cases in the last five years.
In the space of two years alone, more a thousand Nigerians have lost their lives, valuables and been rendered homeless because of the Fulani herdsmen.
According to common knowledge, the Fulani tribe forms part of the Northern region of Nigeria. This region will account for a large chunk of land mass and population in Nigeria. The highly populated region is a result of birthing methods. The Northerners resist artificial and natural birth control methods. Meaning that they birth in large numbers.
This wealth in population makes it easier to find the Fulani herdsmen in every part of the country.
What people may not know is that over the years, the Fulani herdsmen have existed and grazed their cattle on various parts of Nigeria. But of course with the liberal grazing of the Fulani on farmers’ grassland, trouble sets in.
Local farmers complain about the havoc and wreck caused by these cattle but as usual, no or little attention is paid to their plight.
Ventures Africa reports that according to stats provided by Institute for Economy and Peace, 1299 people were killed by the Fulani herdsmen in 2014. Between 2014 and 2016, it seemed the major target of the herdsmen was Benue. In February of 2016, 2000 people would be displaced by the havoc caused by the Fulani herdsmen and since then, part of the nomadic group have failed to leave communities in peace.
What triggers the violence from the Fulani herdsmen?
The one major aim of a herdsman is naturally, to cater to their herd of cattle. Shockingly, unknown to many, these cattle belong to wealthier Nigerians who pay the herdsmen to cater for their livestock.
However, because of political interests, arms have been generously handed to some of these nomads to cause chaos.
With this power comes the will to slaughter complaining local farmers and villagers.
Genetics: A solution?
Genetically-modified livestock and plants have over the years seem like a breakthrough for a lot of man’s problems. From modifying plants that might soon go extinct, to livestock that resist certain common diseases, the CRISPR technology might well be the commercial saviour for mankind in the closest future.
However, despite the excitement surrounding these researches, critics do not fail to constantly point out that CRISPR scientists leave things the way they are morally and naturally created to be like.
On February 2 of last year, Futurism.com would publish an article on genetically modified cows. In this article, they would explain how Chinese scientists using the breakthrough CRISPR technology in enhancing cows.
According to the site, the scientific modification would enhance the pinned cows from Bovine tuberculosis.
In 2012, the Telegraph would talk about the win for cow-modification. The article would analyze the way the genetically-modified technology would help cows produce with human components, healthier milk.
This milk would be so healthy that a lactose intolerant individual could consume without allergic reactions.
Although nothing much has been said about the eating habits of these genetically-modified cows, another group of scientists are working on genetically-modified dwarf grass.
These dwarf grasses according to Discover Magazine would use less water, fertilizer, stay green longer and maintain their height for long.
Joanne Chory, plant scientist, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, in expressing her delight with her research will say,
”It’s a very simple question – how do plants grow? I’m excited that we’ve made a contribution to a very fundamental area in plant sciences about which we know so little.”
Going by Chory’s findings, if these modified grass were commercially sold and bought by Nigerian agricultural authority, a lot less attention would be placed on the wandering cattle grazing into the farmlands of local farmers and villagers.
If bills like lawmaker Zainab Kure’s Land Grazing Bill can be fully implemented, these genetically-modified grasses can be planted in mapped out regions for these cattle.
But while this solution might seem flawless, there are two problems;
- The risk of genetically-modified grass messing up the ecosystem by leaking into the environment in a process known as gene flow.
- Regions have kicked against the idea of giving up regions of their land for the Land Grazing Bill procedure. A step, the Northern regions have cheerfully complied with.
And while we wait for who to bell the cat, it’s highly necessary to find tangible solutions and safety methods and prevention against the random attacks of the Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria.
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