The Fulani herdsmen versus indigenous farmers problem is not just an issue in Nigeria but often across the whole of West Africa.
In Ghana the District Chief Executive of the Eastern region Abass Fuseini Sbaabe says he has been working to control Fulani in his area.
Speaking in a recent interview, Sbaabe says his Eastern Region district developed a range of plans to deal with the nomadic herders over the eight years he has been in office.
Here are some of the measures used:
He worked to register the Fulani as well as their cattle, keeping them in the district’s records, which he said was meant to make it easier to identify a Fulani if he was accused of a crime.
They were also asked to get a permit before rearing animals in the area, and the land they were rearing them on was also monitored.
“Once the Fulanis knew that we had their picture here and all the relevant particulars about them they were careful with dealing with our farmers. For us that was the most important thing. If you send your animals to go and destroy the farms of somebody that is one thing, if you carry a gun and shoot a farmer that is more serious. So ours is to try to make sure our farmers were safe once we had the identification and photos of the Fulani. We were able to control them and tell them they are never to carry arms as they know we have all the needed documentation about them,” the District Chief Executive said.
Sbaabe’s office also asked the Fulani to wear numbered vests so farmers could see their number and report them if they did anything illegal, however Sbaabe said he and his office soon realised the Fulani would take the vests off if they were to “misbehave”.
The DCE then decided to have the Fulani paint the horns of their animals, with the colour corresponding to a particular cattle owner, “to help us track the owners of the cattle when they go to misbehave on the farms.”
“This time they knew we would surely get them so we had very few of them deciding to comply.”
The district tried to enforce the horn-painting, and started a fresh registration process.
“Some of them refused to comply so we got the military and police to expel them.”