From Obinna Odogwu, Awka
Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MCBAN) has commenced moves to halt the Anti-Open Grazing Bills in the South East.
The group has reportedly received the nod of the South East Governors’ Forum (SEGF)-led by Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi, to meet and discuss the issues surrounding open grazing in the region.
This was disclosed to newsmen by MACBAN’s leader in the South East, Alhaji Gidado Siddiki, in Awka, Anambra State. He said they would be meeting with the governors to lobby for the stoppage of the anti-open grazing bills and its enforcement where it already exists.
Siddiki said at the meeting, herders would table the benefits of open grazing before the governors with a view to getting their nod to do away with the bills and the law where it already existed.
While the Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has signed the bill into law, the situations in Ebonyi, Abia, and Imo states remain unclear.
Anambra government had told Daily Sun that the state had no plans to enact the law for the enforcement of ban on open grazing agreed on by southern governors.
Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Don Adinuba, said Governor Willie Obiano had given the security agencies the directive to enforce the ban.
“We will make use of the security agents. That’s all. The law is not necessary. The governor can issue a directive. Secondly, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum had in February or so banned open grazing. So, whether it is in Anambra or Imo or Lagos, it is the same situation. Enacting a law against open grazing is not necessary. And the state is not planning to come up with a law. We don’t need it.”
Siddiki said banning open grazing would affect both parties badly as prices of cattle had continued to rise since the issue of ban came up.
“A cow that was sold for N80,000 then is now sold for N300,000 and that is the implication of the Ant-Open Grazing Law. If they are asking the cattle breeders to stop moving around with their cows, it means indirectly they are asking us to leave their land and that we are not Nigerians. Because of the law, a lot of herders have relocated to other countries like Lake Chad, Cameroon, Sierra Leone and they have vowed not to export their cows to Nigeria again.
“I believe governors of Anambra State, Willie Obiano; Imo State, Hope Uzodinma and Enugu State counterpart, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who have already enacted the law are definitely going to listen to us because of the love they have for their people.
“I don’t think the ban on open grazing is necessary in the South East zone because 80 percent of our members have embraced the modern way of grazing through our continued sensitisation programmes, including the cow identification workshop recently held in Enugu State, where every cow owners and their boys will be captured digitally before being allowed to operate. It is also not necessary in the region because Igbo people know the consequences of losing one’s means of livelihood. By God’s grace, the governors will consider our cooporative request,” Siddiki said.