The National Council of Fulani Chiefs (NCFC) on Wednesday declared its intent to set up a task force to deal with the activities of Fulani herdsmen.
The Council, seeking the approval from the Government to set up the task force, would among other things, arrest nomadic miscreants and hand them over to the security agencies for prosecution.
It announced this known its members called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the Flagstaff House in Accra Wednesday.
The meeting, the first ever with a Ghanaian President, was on the request of the chiefs as part of measures to find lasting solution to the myriads of problems associated with the activities of Fulani herdsmen.
The NCFC acknowledged the security infractions that had arisen in various parts of the country between communities and herdsmen, saying the situation needs a collective effort of all stakeholders to address.
The Council was, however, concerned that in spite of the fact that many other tribes herd cattle in the country, Fulani’s have been singled out as the villains in all altercation involving herdsmen.
Mr Iddrisu Mohammed Bungle, the Acting President of the NCFC, said:
“Mr President, there are cattle herders in Ashanti, Eastern, Volta, Brong Ahafo and Greater Accra regions who are Ashantis, Akyem or Kwahu, Ewe, Bono Ahafos, and Gas, but when they commit criminal offences, the media reports refer to them as “FULANIS!”
“We believe that crime should be treated as crime and not to be associated with any ethnic group. Thus, these media reportage have brought a wave of discrimination upon Fulanis.
“We are discriminated even in the areas of access to health, schools, at our work places and when acquiring national identity cards even though some of these Fulanis are third-generation Ghanaians,” he said.
Mr Bungle said they did not condone criminal activities and would give out any Fulani who flouted the law on confining cattle to Kraals.
Furthermore, the Council pledged to collaborate with the Government and the security agencies to find a lasting solution to the crisis.
“We are not here to condone or defend the actions of anybody but happily make ourselves available for consultations with your government and other stake holders in providing a lasting solution to this recurring nomadic menace.
“We will be more than ready for constructive dialogue to bring about peaceful coexistence and also ready to facilitate or work with national law enforcement agencies to investigate and bring to justice any miscreants within our mist,’’ he said.
The Council recounted the economic benefits the country stood to gain from a vibrant well-established cattle industry.
It said if there was investment in the domestic meat industry, the country could save money and produce more meat, which would help tackle child malnutrition and provide employment for the teeming youth.
President Akufo-Addo, on his part, told the Council that finding a solution to the herdsmen issue was a very big concern for the Government.He said the activities of the herdsmen was very disturbing and “we are determined to find a solution that would protect everybody, including then herdsmen and their cattle.”
The President lauded the Council for taking the bold initiative to mitigate the crisis.
He thanked the members for their courage and sense of responsibility, saying the offer by the chiefs to set up a task force to deal with the problem was encouraging.
President Akufo-Addo stressed the need for collaboration by all stakeholders to address holistically the situation at hand.
He asked the Council to nominate two persons to join the Committee set up by government, under the Ministry of Agriculture, to resolve the bottlenecks in the ranching model as proposed by government.
“Cattle ranching is big business and has a lot of benefits for Ghana…but the right things ought done…the kraal and ranching systems would be pursued to the letter,” the President said.