Northern cattle breeders in the southern states of Nigeria declared yesterday that they will not vacate the region as directed by Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders' Association (MACBAN) over the open grazing ban by governors of the south.
The herders however advocated a timely resolution to the crisis which they said is threatening the entire country.
The Bauchi State chapter of MACBAN had urged its members to vacate the 17 southern states following the recent open grazing ban by southern state governors.
In their reaction, the cattle breeders told LEADERSHIP that some of their colleagues had relocated for fear of the unknown, they will only await the directive from the national body and not from a state chapter.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP, a member of the Abia State branch of the association at Lokpanta Cattle Market, Umuchieze, Umunneochi local government area of the state, Alhaji Buba Abdullahi, confirmed reading the directive on the Internet.
He expressed worry over the escalating clashes between headers and farmers in both Ebonyi in recent times which have led to both human and material losses on both sides.
The chairman of MACBAN in Imo State, Alhaji Usaini Haruna, said they are living in peace with the citizenry and have no reason to depart from the state.
According to him, he does not take orders from Bauchi State chapter of the association and as such is not bound by the directive.
However, in Delta State, the directive has no effect because MACBAN does exist in the state.
LEADERSHIP checks revealed that most of the cows in the state are owned by Deltans who only employ herders to take care of the cattle.
According to the senior special assistant to the governor on security, Chief Casidi Iloba, said Governor Ifeanyi Okowa removed the leader of the association paving the way for smoother interface between herders and community leaders. He said intermediary by MACBAN was not working.
Iloba said since the herders don't have leaders to give them such directive, they are not likely to leave Delta State because most the cattle owners are Deltans who have not sacked the herders yet.
He also said he meets them in the bush regularly adding that there has not been any reason to ask them to leave especially when the state government has not started to implement the resolution over the ban on open grazing.
In Akwa Ibom State, the king of the Hausa/Fulani communities in the state, Alhaji Sadauki, has described the situation as dangerous for the country.
He said rather than asking the herders to leave the southern states, the southern governor should see it as a national problem rather than regional problem so that all Nigerians can solve it together.
To me "it's not a regional problem but a national problem which should be tackled nationally".