Parliament to investigate reports of criminal activities of Fulani herdsmen
A nine member Parliamentary Committee is to be set up to investigate increasing reports of the destructive and criminal activities of Fulani herdsmen and their cattle.
Speaker of Parliament Joyce Bamford Addo gave the directive on Thursday March 31, after a very passionate debate in Parliament about how various farming communities were suffering at the hands of some recalcitrant Fulani herdsmen.
The debate started after the Member of Parliament for Abetifi in the Eastern Region, Peter Wiafe Peprah, read a statement on the matter following a petition he had received from the chiefs and people of Dwerebease, a farming community.
According to him, cattle herdsmen believed to be of Fulani origin carrying weapons had seized farmlands at the expense of local farmers.
He said most women have been forced to cease farming activities for fear of being raped and maltreated.
Several MPs added their voices to the debate and called on the nation’s security agencies to tackle the situation else they (MPs) will not approve budgetary allocations to them.
“If our national security has not been able to handle this problem, then one day if a country invades Ghana, what will they do? Because these are untrained Fulani herdsmen taking care of cattle, holding AK-47, raping our women, killing our people and we cannot handle that situation. So why should this House continue to approve budget and many other things for people who claim to be handling security? Please this is a serious matter and we should demand that a special action programme is put before us for people to explain why they are unable to handle this matter” MP for Okere, Dan Botwe suggested.
The Former Majority Leader and Minister for Water Resources Works and Housing, Alban Bagbin narrated a personal experience of the Fulani brutality in which a land he had acquired at Agogo for some NDC foot soldiers for the cultivation of maize was destroyed.
“I was there myself and we harvested the maize but all of it was consumed by the cattle and I didn’t even get a bag. The Fulanis prevented the labourers from entering the farm. I called the MCE and he gave me a detail report of how he tried to intervene and he couldn’t. The Paramount Chief of Agogo, Nana Akuoko Sarpong had to invite the elders of the Fulanis to a meeting but to no avail”.
“In fact, I am only hoping that my plantain farm will save the situation. But the Fulani herdsmen and their cattle are still there. I called the MCE and they petitioned the security agencies for intervention but to no avail. So we want them to come to this House to explain why we can’t handle the Fulani menace in this country. I invested a lot of money into that farm and I don’t know what to say again. I will go the extent of saying that if nothing is done to solve this problem; we should not approve any budget for any agency again. People must sit up in this country and do the right thing” he said.
The Speaker later rounded up the debate with a call for a nine member committee to be set up. She said the Committee must represent members from the most affected areas of the country as far as the Fulani menace is concerned.
Parliament has rounded up its first meeting for the year 2011, to resume on May 17, thus the Committee is to submit its report at the beginning of June.
Meanwhile the Chairman of the Fulani Community in Ghana, Iddrisa Bingle has told Citi News not all cattle herdsmen are Fulanis and says it is unfair to attribute everything criminal to Fulanis.
He explained that most often than not, the animals “go crazy” leading to the destruction of farm produce. He added that in some cases, the owners of the farms engage in peaceful discussions with the herdsmen who end up compensating the affected farmers.