From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
The Miyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has said that there are 400 grazing reserves in the North which are sufficient enough to accommodate all herders in the country.
The Association was speaking against the backdrop of the crisis facing the herders in the country.
The National Secretary, Baba Usman Ngelzerma who was briefing the leadership of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) at their headquarters in Kaduna on Thursday asked the forum to put pressure on the Federal and State Governments to put into use the abandoned grazing reserves in the region.
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.
“We are sitting on a time bomb and government is not taking serious issue over this. Unless we address this now am afraid in the next 10 years people might not even travel to their destinations.
“This issue of herders is not a Northern problem but a national problem that need to be tackled wholistically.
“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 southern part of the country alone, MACBAN scribe said, “Lagos State alone consumes 6,000 cows on daily basis, while 250 lorries of cows enter into Southern part of the country on daily basis”.
“But, because of the poor management of the Herders crisis, that is why we are where we are today.
“If we want an end to the problem, the 400 grazing reserves in the north States should be put to use and developed better. We have 3 in Oyo, Ogun and Lagos. If the grazing reserves are utilized, half the problems will be solved.”
The MACBAN Secretary General further remarked, “the ignorance of the Herders and Pastorialists is being exploited by crime merchants and drug merchants in the country, who supply the Herders drugs”.
He warned that unless the Herders and Pastorialists are put together in the Grazing Reserve, the peace the nation is craving for may be elusive, while noting that “in the next 10 to 20 years, if the problem is not resolved nobody can travel within and around Nigeria because the Herders are scattered all over”.
Saying that the fulani pastoralists have lost over 4 million cows since the crisis started in the country, he insisted that “the problem is not a problem of the North alone, but that of the country”
Meanwhile, the Chairman of ACF, Chief Audu Ogbe said the members of the Forum will look into the presentation of MACBAN critically with a view of taking a position soon.