Northern chiefs call for partnership to check Fulani herdsmen
Tamale, July 12, GNA - Chiefs in the three northern regions have appealed to the government to establish a partnership with them to manage and protect the environment by instituting stronger laws on ranching and environmental protection to check the negative activities of nomadic Fulani herdsmen. The chiefs said any law seeking to prescribe solutions to the problem of Fulani herdsmen should involve them if it was to be effective. The chiefs expressed this concern in Tamale on Saturday after a roundtable consultation on the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) Bill which is before Parliament to factor in their inputs before it is passed into law. The roundtable consultation was on the initiative of the Houses of Chiefs of the three regions and under the convening leadership of Naa Professor John Nabila, President of the National House of Chiefs. The chiefs said the activities of nomadic Fulani herdsmen and their cattle grazing activities could adversely affect the north and the development of a modernized agriculture as envisaged under SADA if not checked. The chiefs noted the deplorable conditions of roads in the three regions and urged SADA to focus primarily on accelerating the improvements of the road network as a matter of priority.
On the citing of the headquarters of SADA, the chiefs recommended the need to identify a central location for the establishment of the office and suggested that the issue be resolved administratively and not made an issue for discussion in the Bill. The chiefs suggested that the representation of chiefs on the SADA governing board should be raised from one to three. They said if this was accepted the membership of the governing board would be increased to 11 instead of 9 and there would be the need to raise the quorum from five to six. They also recommended that the power to remove a member of the Board by letter from the President should apply only to members appointed by the President. The chiefs said an important source of funding should be the promised start-up funding and that it should be the first major requirement while other independent funding sources were explored to supplement government sources. They suggested that "Education" should be inserted in the objectives as well as functions of the SADA to make sure that education became an integral part of the Authority. In addressing the land issue, the chiefs pledged their commitment to co-operate with SADA on land issues for accelerated development and also become partners while noting that peculiar situations in each traditional area would have to be carefully studied and modalities for allocating land would have to be carefully developed. They further recommended that it might be necessary to establish "Animal corridors" to facilitate cattle grazing within specified legal frameworks. 12 July 10