Usman Ngelzarma, National Secretary, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, said on Tuesday that members of the association had lost over two million cows to rustlers in the last two years.
Mr. Ngelzarma made the remark in an in interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Jalingo.
He said that apart from the stolen cows, no fewer than 600 members of the association were killed, while several others were kidnapped for ransom.
The national secretary said that the herdsmen were attacked, killed, maimed and their animals forcefully taken away in many parts of the country.
“In spite of all these, a section of the Nigerian media deliberately refused to report the crime committed against the herdsmen,” he alleged.
He condemned the politicisation of the herdsmen and farmers conflict in the country, noting that the herdsmen were always accused of crime, even in situations where they were the victims of attack.
Mr. Ngelzarma cited instances where criminals disguised in Fulani attires commit crimes in some states like Benue, Enugu, Anambra and southern Kaduna, in order to give the herdsmen a bad name.
He blamed the face-off between herdsmen and farmers on lack of communication.
According to the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association official, most of the conflicts can be averted if dialogue and proper conflict management skills are adopted.
The national secretary, however, commended the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, for initiating peace and reconciliation meetings between herdsmen and farmers in the country, with a view to achieving realistic solutions.
Mr. Ngelzarma was in the state for a sensitisation programme for farmers and herdsmen drawn from all the 16 local government areas of Taraba.