18 July 2012

Ghana: Butchers Against Ejection of Fulani Herdsmen

Kumasi — THE LEADERSHIP of the Ghana Co-operative Butchers and Small-Scale Livestock Owners Association have petitioned the President , Prof J. E. A. Mills against the purported ejection of Fulani herdsmen from the Agogo area in the Afram plains.

The association noted that the recommendation of the Ashanti regional Minister to drive the herdsmen away from the area was not the best.

In a statement issued in Kumasi, Chief Alhaji Bawa Musah Tanko, Chief Butcher in Kumasi, who doubles as the National Vice President and the Spokesperson of the Association said cattle rearing in the Afram plains area is beneficial to them as Butchers, chop bar operators and the general public as a whole.

He drew the attention of the authorities to the fact that Accra and Kumasi Abattoirs slaughter over 500 to 700 cattle a day, and that they supplement their cattle requirements from the Afram plains area, with cattle from the neighbouring countries.

According to him, the regional Minister and the committee did not take into consideration the number of people who will go jobless, and those who would suffer from the shortage of meat in the country if the herdsmen and their cattle are driven away.

He said the Committee appointed to deal with the matter did not involve members of the Butchers and Small Scale Livestock Owners Association and that the committee's reports could not be balanced in order to bring peace in the area.

According to Alhaji Tanko, the Ashanti Regional Minister and the Regional Security Council could have handled the issue without necessarily having to drive the herdsmen away.

He indicated that butchers have always been in the bush with these herdsmen to buy cattle, and found that they are not as dangerous as they have been portrayed in the media.

They argued that in view of the fact that the court ruling did not indicate where Fulani herdsmen should be sent, they appealed to the government to settle them on a vast land lying behind Kuwereso and Abrewapong up to River Afram where there are no farms or settlements neither is this place close to any human habitat.

The association said this move would serve the interest of their members and the larger Ghanaian meat consuming public, in the national interest and in the spirit of peaceful Co-existence.

The leadership of the Association therefore proposed that the REGSEC, the Traditional Councils, and the District Assemblies to plan and relocate the Fulani Herdsmen to the proposed area.

The association also suggested that the herdsmen could be taxed to earn revenue for the country while ensuring a lasting solution to the problem.

According to the association, the problem seem to be persisting because the Ad-hoc measures to solve the problem in the past failed because too much pressure was put on the government without listening to other sides and that a permanent place for re-settlement was not found.

They appealed to the Government to re-consider its decision and look at the issue from a broader perspective to arrive at a solution that would not endanger the peace that the security may want to achieve.

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