From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
The National Patron of Miyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Senator Walid Jibrin has said that open grazing by Fulani herders is out dated in Nigeria, and called for an alternative to it.
This was even as he commended southern governors for the ban on open grazing in the southern part of the country.
Jibrin, a Second Republic lawmaker, and Fulani leader in Nasarawa State told newsmen at a press conference in Kaduna on Thursday that government should modernise open grazing by providing grazing reserve centres equipped with socio-economic facilities to stop the herders from roaming about.
He expressed disappointment with those Nigerians, particularly Northerners for condemning southern governors of the decision to ban open grazing.
“As a Full blooded Fulani Man, Sarkin Fulani, and Patron Miyatti 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 out dated Internationally and is therefore necessary for Nigeria especially 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
“Many African countries are shying away from open grazing and Herdsmen movement coming up with better alternative by provision of Grazing Reserve e.g. in Zimbabwe as a result of the change, one cow is producing meat worth of 7 cows in Nigeria and equally one cow producing milk worth of 6 cows in Nigeria
“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.
“Cattle rearing has been on in Africa for over 100 years without any consideration to free movement of cattle (Open Grazing) or any Grazing Reserve. This was carried out because at that time there were few herders, farmers and cattle especially in Nigeria.
“Today the population of both increased with modern Technique of farming consuming land tremendously.
“With the current International concern on cattle rearing in Africa especially Nigeria there is need to look at how best this practice will be carried out successfully. We must note that Land in Nigeria is being owned by Individuals, Federal, and State Governments.
“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.
“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 curve 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 SW. 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.
“Of course our traditional rulers must be given a proper role in the Nigerian Constitution. May I strongly advise that the Federal and State Governments should assist tremendously in providing inputs into the recommended grazing reserve land in all the States of the Federation and they should continue to be Herdsmen/Farmer Friendly.
“In order to discourage open grazing, Federal Government should stop the entry of Cattle to Nigeria from ECOWAS countries by amending the Article 3 of ECOWAS Protocol especially referring to free movement of cattle and other livestock without any special undertaking.
“I strongly appeal to the Federal and State Governments to maintain all existing Grazing reserves by providing special amenities mentioned in my earlier suggestions. It is also necessary that Government uses the services of World Bank to archive all plans that will come out of well modernized Grazing Reserves in Nigeria. In the issue of security, it is my appeal that All Nigerians must assist the security agencies in maintaining security in Nigeria instead of condemning them”. Senator Jibrin stated.