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General News of Saturday, 26 April 2014

Source: Comfort Sena Fetrie

Comment: Fulani herdsmen devastate Northern Region

The activities of Fulani herdsmen in the country and in the Northern Region in particular, are nauseating, requiring a permanent solution. In the name of ECOWAS protocol, Fulani herdsmen have embarked on mass destruction of properties and loss of lives with impunity in the Northern Region.

This is the situation and the order of the day where the Ghanaian farmer lives in perpetual fear. Apart from mass destruction of properties, the Fulani herdsmen have also indulged in the wanton destruction of the environment, leading to environmental degradation.

Almost all parts of the Northern Region are affected by the activities of the herdsmen with the worst incidence in the Gushiegu District.

A woman in that district poured out her frustration when her son and her brother were murdered by Fulani herdsmen and their motorbike taken away when they were picking shea nuts.

The gruesome murder, according to Azara (not real name) have made people of the area to live in fear while some women are sometimes raped and give birth to unwanted babies.

Women can no longer travel beyond a “Voice Shout,” that is to say they fear to travel far away into the bush.

The reason is that they fear to be raped. They fear to be killed, and they fear to be molested. Though the survival of the people of the north, particularly women, depends on the picking of shea nuts, the presence of Fulani herdsmen deter and compel them to stay at home.

Farmers can no more reap the needed foodstuffs that they expect due to the negative activities of Fulani herdsmen. In short, farming is becoming a disincentive to the rural farmer in the Northern Region. Food is becoming a scarce commodity, which would exacerbate the poverty situation in the area.

Many sad stories are told from different districts in the Northern Region about the negative activities of these herdsmen.

For instance, another woman from the Kpandai District narrated how her farm was invaded by the cattle of some herdsmen in the community.

Similarly in Zabzugu, a farmer complained that his harvested yam in the farm was completely destroyed by the cattle of Fulani herdsmen.

“When it comes to health, the drinking water sources (Dams) in most communities in the region have been polluted by the cattle of the Fulani herdsmen,” a farmer said.

The cattle drink the water whilst the Herdsmen walk in the water, posing a danger of guinea worm and other water borne diseases.

The presence of the herdsmen is a serious threat to the environment in the country. The herds of cattle cause a lot of soil erosion and the compacting of the soil.

Bush burning and felling of economic trees have become very rampant in the region due to their activities.

The ECOWAS protocol that allows for free movement of persons, goods and services across borders of member countries does not warrant miss-conduct and violation of the host country’s laws with impunity.

The outcry of Ghanaians in the Brong Ahafo, Volta, Eastern, Upper East, Upper West and Ashanti regions about the activities of Fulani herdsmen should be a wake-up call for officialdom to do something about the situation.

It is suggested that law enforcement agencies team up with the chiefs and landowners to monitor the entry of Fulani herdsmen and to strictly enforce the ECOWAS protocol which allows a 90-day stay after which the person must apply for an extension of stay in the country, else be shown the exit.

District Assemblies in collaboration with traditional authorities should monitor the entry and exit of the Fulani herdsmen in their respective districts.

Government should beef up logistical support for law enforcement agencies to strictly and adequately protect the country.

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