Fulani herder-farmer conflicts: Government should use social cohesion, inter-ethnic dialogue — Mr Adib Saani

  Thu, 08 Jun 2023
Social News Fulani herder-farmer conflicts: Government should use social cohesion, inter-ethnic dialogue — Mr Adib Saani

Mr Adib Saani, Executive Director, Jatikay Centre for Human Security and Peace Building, has appealed to the Government to use social cohesion and inter-ethnic dialogue to address the migrating Fulani herder-local farmer conflicts.

He also called for a comprehensive and inclusive approach that upheld human rights principles, ensured the protection of all citizens and promoted peaceful coexistence among different ethnic and religious groups.

Mr Saani made the call at a press conference on recent violence between Fulanis and some natives of the Upper East Region of Ghana.

Present at the conference were representatives from the British High Commission, German Embassy, France Embassy and Australian High Commission.

There was a violent clash between some community members and Fulani herdsmen on Tuesday, March 28, 2023. Local reports say, a young man from Bongo-Soe community in the Bongo District of the Upper East Region, who went fishing, was allegedly beaten up and robbed by some Fulani herdsmen.

Mr Atiah Nsoh, the victim, had a fracture on his right leg while his motorcycle, mobile phone and an undisclosed amount of money were taken from him.

It was alleged that the Fulani herdsmen initially wanted to slaughter Mr Nsoh but a more reasonable member of the trio objected, and then they tried to castrate him, but he resisted, and they beat him up.

Subsequently, on April 11, 2023, the Chief and people of the Bongo-Soe community issued a one-month ultimatum for Fulani herdsmen, residing in the community to pack out.

The reason being that residents had complained that the nomadic herdsmen had illegally occupied their farmlands and were terrorising them.

Mr Saani, also a Security Analyst, said violence created a sense of marginalisation which carried grave security implications for the nation and can compromise collective efforts to counter violent extremism.

He said when any group within a society was alienated, or subjected to any form of discrimination, it created a fertile ground for social unrest, extremism and violent reactions.

Mr Saani said such marginalisation eroded trust in the state, fuelled grievances and undermined the legitimacy and effectiveness of Governance structures.

“When marginalized communities are left vulnerable and unprotected, it breeds a sense of injustice and fuels resentment. This, in turn, can lead to cycles of violence, retaliation, and the potential for recruitment by extremist groups seeking to exploit grievances,” he said.

“History has shown that when certain people or groups are denied equal rights, opportunities, and protection, they become susceptible to radicalisation and recruitment into extremist organizations.”

“These extremist elements not only threaten the security and stability of our nation but also have far-reaching regional and international implications. Above all, the consequences of such divisions and violence have a lasting impact on a nation’s societal harmony, security, and overall stability.”

He admonished the media to be security sensitive in their reportage, verify information before publication and refrain from couching headlines that contributed to negative stereotypes.

He urged the Fulani community to cooperate with law enforcement agencies, report criminals among them and not take matters into their own hands, adding, they should make conscious efforts to rid their communities of miscreants who were pushing them into disrepute.

Imam Hanafi Sonde, President, Ghana National Association of Cattle Farmers, said a lot had already been done by the Government, security agencies and other stakeholders to find a holistic solution to the conflict, however, more work had to be done.

He called for bylaws and policies to deal with the issue once and for all.