Member-States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have been urged to implement the Protocol on Transhumance to sensitise its citizens to existing laws on livestock management in the sub-region.
Recommendations of a November 2017 joint study by ECOWAS and the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) contained the need for the protocol implementation and its publication in national languages.
The ECOWAS/UNOWAS joint study was launched at the just concluded ECOWAS annual development partners' meeting held in Abuja.The 1998 ECOWAS "Decision Relating to the Regulations on Transhumance Between ECOWAS Member States" recognises the importance of cross-border livestock movement and aims to prevent farmer-herder conflicts.
The decision states that all transhumance livestock shall be allowed free passage across points of entry into and departure from each country.However, the decision also notes that this would be done on the condition that herders have the ECOWAS International Transhumance Certificate.
A herdsman is expected to obtain the certificate from the livestock control post of his locality, each year before departure.The ECOWAS-UNOWAS joint study noted that pastoralism was a major concern in the sub-region due to constant clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
The study aimed to assess the causes of conflicts involving pastoralists in West Africa, recommend strategies to prevent them and promote understanding of issues on livestock management that would influence national policies.Pastoralism was identified as one of the contributors to the agrarian sector and economies of West Africa and the Recommendations made were aimed at finding peaceful resolutions to the crisis.
Meanwhile, contrary to media reports that a Fulani cattle owner in Logo Local Government Area of the state a few days ago jumped into River Benue over alleged loss of some of his cows, the state government has denied as untrue and described such reports as the height of falsehood by opponents of the anti open grazing law.
A statement signed by Chief Press Secretary to Governor Samuel Ortom, Mr. Terver Akase, also said the alarm raised in the same report that Fulani cattle breeders have already lost over 600 cows in the state since the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law came into effect on November 1 is not just false but a series of organized blackmail and propaganda by enemies of the state.
The Governor's spokesman who urged members of the public to disregard the report, further advised journalists to carry out thorough investigation into sensitive matters of security before publishing their reports; stressing that by so doing it will reduce unnecessary tension in the society.