Fulani herdsmen Vests and painted horns; how Fanteakwa deals with Fulani

From photo IDs, to vests, to painting the horns of cattle, District Chief Executive for Fanteakwa, Abass Fuseini Sbaabe says he has been working to control Fulani in his area of the Eastern Region.

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Nomadic Fulani herdsmen have not just been an issue for Agogo, the District Chief Executive for Fanteakwa, Abass Fuseini Sbaabe says.

Speaking to Pulse.com.gh, Sbaabe says his Eastern Region district developed a range of plans to deal with the nomadic herders over the eight years he has been in office, some successful, others not.

He worked to register the Fulani as well as their cattle, keeping them in the district's records, which he said was meant to make it easier to identify a Fulani if he was accused of a crime.

They were also asked to get a permit before rearing animals in the area, and the land they were rearing them on was also monitored.

“Once the Fulanis knew that we had their picture here and all the relevant particulars about them they were careful with dealing with our farmers. For us that was the most important thing.

“If you send your animals to go and destroy the farms of somebody that is one thing. If you carry a gun and shoot a farmer that is more serious. So ours is to try to make sure our farmers were safe once we had the identification and photos of the Fulani.

"We were able to control them and tell them they are never to carry arms as they know we have all the needed documentation about them.”

Sbaabe's office asked the Fulani to wear numbered vests so farmers could see their number and report them if they did anything illegal, however Sbaabe said he and his office soon realised the Fulani would take the vests off if they were to "misbehave".

So the DCE then decided to have the Fulani paint the horns of their animals, with the colour corresponding to a particular cattle owner, “to help us track the owners of the cattle when they go to misbehave on the farms."

But, as Sbaabe revealed, it didn't work.

"This time they knew we would surely get them so we had very few of them deciding to comply.”

The district tried to enforce the horn-painting, and started a fresh registration process.

“Some of them refused to comply so we got the military and police to expel them at the same time as those in Agogo this year.”

When the Fulani were being pushed out of Agogo during the February combined police and military taskforce Sbaabe said rumours circulated that they were heading to his area.

“I said no we don't have seats for them, even those here are moving out so what is the motivation for other people to come in here?”

He said the taskforce had rounded up the problem Fulani and moved them on.

Sbaabe is running for the Fanteakwa South seat for NDC this election, after running unsuccessfully in 2012.

He said it was the Fulani that cost him that election, but he did not think they would this year.

“It was the easier tool for my opponents to use. I am a Muslim and the Fulani herdsmen are largely Muslim so people went out with the message that 'he is a Fulani man himself, so how can he help control Fulani?' It caught fire...it couldn't be controlled,” Sbaabe said.

“This time round I don't think anyone can use it.”

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