The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), speaking against the backdrop of the herders’ crisis in Nigeria, has stated that the 400 grazing reserves in the country’s northern region are adequate to satisfy all herders.
While briefing the leadership of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) at their headquarters in Kaduna State on Thursday, Baba Usman Ngelzerma, National Secretary of the association, asked the forum to place pressure on the federal and state governments to use the country’s abandoned grazing reserves, especially in the North.
According to him, there are 400 grazing reserves in the north and more in the south, specifically in Oyo, Ogun, and Lagos State. He went on to say that the time has come for the herders to avoid travelling from one location to the next.
Although calling for these concerns to be resolved, he made it clear that the subject of herders is a national one that must be addressed holistically.”
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“The government should ensure that herders are settled in grazing reserves in order to prevent the current condition in which they are dispersed across the region. This is the root of the current crisis.
“In the grazing reserves, these herders should be supplied with the requisite educational, health, and other facilities. When their standing increases, so will their economic potential and the country’s productivity. The operation of the grazing reserves should be completed as soon as possible.”
According to the secretary-general’s figures, Lagos State alone consumes 6,000 cows a day, with 250 lorries of cows entering the southern part of the country on a regular basis. According to MACBAN, the 400 grazing reserves in the northern states should be better used and established. He continues that once the grazing lands are utilised, half of the problems will be solved.
He also said that the pastoralists’ lack of education is being abused, warning that unless herders and pastoralists are brought together in grazing reserves, the nation’s long-desired stability could be elusive.
He bemoaned the loss of over four million cows by Fulani pastoralists since the country’s crisis began.
Following receipt of the paper, ACF chairman, Chief Audu Ogbe, stated that members of the forum would review the presentation before making a decision. In a communique issued at the conclusion of the meeting on Thursday, ACF stated that mediation and consultation with other parts of the world remain the only way to restore peace in the country.
The forum denounced the actions of terrorists, kidnappers, and robbers in the North in a communiqué published and read by the forum’s national publicity secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, saying that their acts are killing the stability and development for which the North was known while the region’s founders were in control. The forum has condemned the words of some actors and leaders who have tried to incite political, cultural, and religious passions in the midst of the country’s current crisis.
To that end, it urged Nigerian politicians to show caution in their public statements in light of the current situation. It also expressed regret that abducted students from the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation are still being held captive, and that the Kaduna State government has done nothing to secure their release.
“We, the ACF, condemn all lawless acts of self-help and urge all northern youths to put an end to such evil plans. They do not have our backing. The ACF believes in dialogue and consultation as a means of restoring stability and normalcy to our troubled region and nation,” according to the communique.