THE Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has said the 400 grazing reserves in the North is sufficient to accommodate all herders in the country.
The association was speaking against the backdrop of the crisis facing the herders in the country.
National Secretary of the association, Baba Usman Ngelzerma, while briefing the leadership of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) at their headquarters in Kaduna State, on Thursday, asked the forum to put pressure on the federal and state governments to put into use, the abandoned grazing reserves in the country, especially in the North.
According to him, there are presently 400 grazing reserves in the North and there are others in the South, including Oyo, Ogun and Lagos states.
He said the time has come for the herders to stop moving from one place to the other, saying: “They should be stationed in these reserves.”
He added: “We are sitting on a time bomb and the government is not taking the issue seriously. Unless we address this now, I’m afraid in the next 10 to 20 years, people may not even be able travel anywhere in the country.
“This issue of herders is not a northern problem but a national one that needs to be tackled holistically.
“The government should see to settling of herders in the grazing reserves and avoid the present situation where they are scattered all over the country. This is the cause of the problem we have today.
“These herders should be provided the necessary educational, health and other facilities in the grazing reserves. When their status improves, this will boost their productive capacity and the productivity of the country. The operation of the grazing reserves should be carried out as urgent as possible.”
Citing statistics of the supplies of cows and other animals to the southern part of the country alone, the MACBAN scribe said: “Lagos State alone consumes 6,000 cows daily, while 250 lorries of cows enter the southern part of the country on a daily basis.
“But, we are where we are today because of the poor management of the herders’ crisis. If we want an end to the problem, the 400 grazing reserves in the northern states should be put to use and developed better. We have three in Oyo, Ogun and Lagos states. If the grazing reserves are utilised, half the problems will be solved.”
The MACBAN secretary-general argued that the poor education of the pastoralists is being exploited as he warned that unless the herders and pastoralists are put together in the grazing reserves, the peace the nation is craving for may be elusive.
He lamented that the Fulani pastoralists have lost over four million cows since the crisis started in the country.
Receiving the report, chairman of ACF, Chief Audu Ogbe, said members of the forum will look into the presentation, with a view to taking a position. At the end of the meeting on Thursday, ACF, in a communique, said dialogue and consultation with other parts of the country remain the solution to bring back peace into the country.
In a communiqué issued and read by the national publicity secretary of the forum, Emmanuel Yawe, the forum condemned the activities of insurgents, kidnappers and bandits in the North, saying that their activities are killing the peace and progress for which the North was noted when the founders of the region were in power. The forum also decried the utterances of some actors and leaders who have sought to inflame regional, ethnic and religious passions out of the current situation in the country.
To this end, it called on Nigerian leaders to exercise restraint in their utterances in the current circumstances. It also regretted that students of Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation who were kidnapped are still in captivity and the Kaduna State government has not done much to get them released.
“We, the ACF, stand against all lawless acts of self help and call on all northern youths to stop such evil plans. They do not enjoy our support. The ACF believes in dialogue and consultation as a way of bringing peace and normalcy back to our troubled region and nation,” the communique read.