10 August 2017

Nigeria: Herdsmen Association Vow to Challenge Anti-Grazing Law in Court

Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) says it will continue to challenge the anti-grazing laws introduced by some state governments in court.

The National Secretary of the association, Baba Ngelzarma, made the declaration while speaking with newsmen in Abuja on Thursday.

He said the pastoralists, who were largely uneducated, would view the anti-grazing laws, when implemented, as forcing them out of their ancestral and cultural way of earning a living.

According to him, implementing the laws will create another crisis in the country.

Mr. Ngelzarma said the revival of grazing reserves across the country would aid efforts to stop the roaming of cattle and pastoralists.

He said grazing reserves across the country had been devastated through encroachment by farmers, destruction by desertification or neglect on the part of the government.

"We are going to challenge this anti-grazing law in courts and some of us have taken the matter to international court because that is the only option left for us.

"This is a breach of the constitution and the fundamental human rights of our members.

"We are not against ranching. The pastoralist will embrace it but that cannot be right away but it will be overtime.

"You have to educate them to know the benefits of ranching.

"These pastoralists will take the law as something that is totally strange, a plot to take them away from what they inherited from their forefathers. They will see it as a failure on their part.

"If these grazing reserves that we have in the North can be maintained and rehabilitated, with the provision of boreholes and grasses, I see no reason why the pastoralist will continue to roam around.

"We are sensitising our people to the need for them to remain peaceful; not to originate or look for trouble, not to encroach into peoples' farms," he said.

The national secretary said that settling down of pastoralists would be slowly achieved through sustained enlightenment.

He added that it would be virtually impossible for pastoralists to roam in the next 10 to 20 years because of the growing population.

Ekiti, Taraba and Benue States have enacted the anti-open grazing laws.

The laws stipulate that herdsmen must engage in cattle ranching in order to rear their animals. (NAN)

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