Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria (GAFDAN) has vehemently protested the closure of cattle markets across the country in the wake the COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria, calling on the federal government to immediately open all cattle markets.
The group also lamented that "hunger and diseases are already ravaging our members' families and communities in almost all the states where cattle markets have been shut down, as our members are not benefiting from the federal government's palliative measures through the Special Intervention Programmes (SIP) as they haven't been captured in them."
A statement issued after its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held in Jos yesterday and signed by its National chairman, Alhaji Sale Bayari, said the group could not afford to keep quiet any longer due to the pathetic economic situation of the herdsmen who have no other means of livelihood than selling their animals.
Bayari said, "GAFDAN seriously wonders how government could allow the cattle markets to be closed while leaving other markets and shops that sell food items to open. The essence of leaving food shops and markets open is to allow Nigerians feed themselves during the lockdown. How are they supposed to do that without cow meat?
"GAFDAN hereby calls for the immediate correction of this mistake by the federal and state governments, and urge them to order the opening of cattle markets to allow our members meet their basic life needs."
The association however advised its members to continue to observe the full social distancing directive of government, even in the cattle markets, by handing over their cows to the dealers and staying away until the animals are sold, to avoid any form of congestion. It also urged members to provide sanitizers as directed by government.