By Ajuma Edwina Ameh
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has asked the Federal Government to intervene and stop state governors from enacting the anti-open grazing law.
The group also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to take an inventory of grazing reserves in the country, and fully develop at least one grazing reserve in each senatorial zone.
The call is coming few months after the Southern Governors Forum (SGF) at a meeting agreed that all southern states should have anti-open grazing laws in place by September after citing security concerns sparked by open grazing.
MACBAN Secretary-General, Saleh Alhassan, who made the statement on Monday at a press conference in Abuja, added that the law would undermine the relative peace and stability currently enjoyed in the local communities, threaten the social order and exacerbate cattle rustling.
Alhassan also appealed to the National Assembly to rescue the pastoralists by resuscitating and passing the Grazing Reserves Commission Bill and other livestock management bills initiated by the previous assembly.
He said: “The National Assembly and Mr President should intervene and stop the current attempts by some state governments to criminalise our means of livelihood of cattle-rearing through enacting of satanic and obnoxious laws they call ‘Anti-Grazing Law’.
“The Federal Government should create a ministry for livestock and fisheries as obtainable in many African countries. Nigerians should adopt strategies in responding to changes of climate change as it affects livestock production, not negative laws.”
According to Alhassan, the anti-open grazing laws would destroy livestock production and send millions who depend on the livestock value chain into poverty.
While referencing the African Union and ECOWAS Protocols/regulation of pastoralists and trans humans, the MACBAN spokesman asked the Nigerian government to domesticate the law in the country, adding that if the protocols are properly documented and implemented, it will effectively tackle the scourge of illegal migration in Nigeria.