By Henry Iheanacho
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has endorsed the decision of Southern Governors to ban open grazing.
National Patron of MACBAN, Senator Walid Jibrin, addressing a press conference in Kaduna On Thursday, said the ban is capable of solving the farmers-herders crisis.
According to him, cattle rearing has been in Africa for over 100 years without any consideration to free movement of cattle (Open Grazing) or any Grazing Reserve.
He said this was carried out in the past because there were few herders, farmers and cattle, especially in Nigeria.
Jibrin noted that, currently, the population has increased with modern technique of farming consuming land tremendously.
The MACBAN Patron also opposed the criticism that trailed the decision of governors on grazing ban, saying they deserved being praised for taking such a bold step.
He said; “We must note that land in Nigeria is being owned by individuals, Federal, and State Governments.
“As a full-blooded Fulani Man, Sarkin Fulani, and Patron Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), and concerned Fulani Leader in Nigeria, I have a free mind on anyone recommending a ban on open grazing, free movement of herders, and cattle in Nigeria because the practice is getting outdated and it is necessary for Nigeria, especially the Fulani race to study critically the traditional open grazing believing that the 21st century may never accommodate it.
“When you look at the practice of open grazing in Nigeria compared with what is happening Internationally, Nigeria can never continue with traditional open grazing practice. In order to effect a change, the Fulani elites should be bold enough to come out with alternatives to open grazing and advise the Fulanis in Nigeria accordingly.
“Most importantly the various Fulani Associations with Membership up to 50 must come together and talk with one voice on this tradition of open grazing and not necessarily allow any group to come out to do it for them.
“The Federal and State Governments should come to the rescue by providing Grazing reserve centres equipped with Hospitals, Nomadic Schools, Electricity, Bore Holes, Cattle Markets with Modern Slaughtering Centres, Open Market to our Fulani Women to enable them to remain in one place to sell milk instead of their house to house roaming about exposing our rich Culture and Religion.”
“I have fully observed the feeling of many groups and individuals in Nigeria about open grazing. There is so much condemnation from Nigerian Governors, Northern Governors, Southern Governors etc. These groups and individuals should never be condemned and must be praised for their bold comments trying to modernize and improve cattle rearing in Nigeria. Another reason why we should shun away from open grazing is the way old methods of settlements of crises between Herdsmen and Farmers have been abandoned.
“The role of the Traditional rulers especially the Village Heads, District Heads are daily being neglected by both Herdsmen and Farmers leaving it on the hands of the Police, Courts and other Law abiding agencies. Because of poverty and lack of full education some Fulani children are involved in some unholy acts which will surely be remedied by provision of Grazing reserves.
“May I seize this opportunity to congratulate all the Governors for the bold steps they are taking to curb the menace of open grazing, kidnapping and banditry. In the S/W the recent action by the Governor of Oyo State Chief Makinde is very commendable and also commend him for shunning away the call asking all Hausas and Fulanis to leave the SouthWest. I also condemn any call from the North that all Hausas and Fulani should – leave the South West.
“Nigeria must remain one entity and one Nigeria as against what is happening now. We should rely more on dialogue, and mediation with herders, Fulani Leaders, Traditional rulers and our Governors in order to end this feud. Our Traditional Rulers must also be encouraged to participate in dialogue between Fulani Herdsmen and Farmers for now the traditional rulers are kept off from handling of Herdsmen and Farmers problems.”
Jibrin’s comment comes after the Attorney-General of the federation, Abubakar Malami, accused southern governors of illegality, likening the ban on grazing in the south to the prohibition of spare parts trade in the north.