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The Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, a factional unit for herdsmen in Nigeria, has opposed the ban imposed on open grazing of cattle by South-West governors.
Their position is, however, in contrast to that of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, which at a meeting with some governors in Akure, the Ondo State capital, on January 25, aligned with the position of the governors.
Among the governors that attended the Akure meeting were the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Governors Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State, Muhammad Badaru of Jigawa State, Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State and Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State. MACBAN was led to the meeting by its chairman, Alhaji Muhammadu Kiruwa, among other attendees.
Asides from the South-West governors, South-East governors had also declared a ban on open grazing and the movement of cows on foot into the South-East.
In his reaction, the Secretary-General of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Saleh Alhassan, in an interview with Punch on Friday said open grazing cannot be banned because there must be an alternative. He argued that there should be a timeline if it were to be banned.
He said, “They want to displace herders from where they earn their livelihood. It is not different from an eviction notice – it is just putting the eviction notice into effect. This is very unfortunate because they cannot come out to say they are embracing peaceful herders and then say they are ending open grazing. What do they mean by that? Is there closed grazing?
“From history, right from the time of Moses, grazing is open. By now, they should realise that they will not get the result they are looking for. We are in total support of the National Livestock Transformation Plan. I was part of the committee that reviewed the final document. The programme has a lot of components, and if implemented, it will address a lot of challenges.
“Look at Benue State and how the approach has created a militia. You can’t end open grazing by fiat as if someone is looking for a crisis, and these crises have a way of reverberating.”
He added, “If they say herders must begin ranching today, where is the ranch? For someone to develop a ranch, they need at least three to five years for it to mature. The facts are there. Ranches cannot be created overnight but they are just playing politics.”
He said if there had been an increase in the herders moving from the North to the South, it could be due to climate change, insecurity in the North-East, drought caused by environmental factors or Boko Haram.
This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.