Fulani cattle breeders in the country have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to do anything possible to frustrate anti-open grazing laws being passed by some states across the country, describing the laws as satanic and anti-Christ.
The cattle breeders operating under the aegis of Miyetti Allah Kauta Hore, expressed concerns over the actions of the states, particularly Southern states, insisting that they were counterproductive to their known economic business.
The group, at a press conference in Abuja, decried the ranching method of rearing cattle as captured in the anti-open grazing laws, noting that “Ranching as envisage by many requires massive capital investment and difficult to sustain, not economical and is not small livestock holder centered.”
The National Secretary of Miyetti Allah Kauta Hore, Engr Saleh Alhassan, called on the National Assembly to come to the rescue of the pastoralists by resuscitating and passing the Grazing Reserves Commission Bill and other livestock management bills that were initiated by the previous National Assembly.
According to the group, if the anti-open grazing laws were allowed, the economic activities of the pastoralists would be completely destroyed.
The Fulani Socio-cultural organisation insisted that the country must instead of pressing ahead with the anti-open grazing laws, key into strategies in responding to the challenges of climate change as it affects livestock production.
The group said: “We want the National Assembly and Mr. President to intervene and stop the current attempt by some states governors to criminalize our means of economic livelihood of cattle rearing through the enactment of satanic and obnoxious laws – ‘Anti-open Grazing Laws’ targeted at Fulani pastoralists.”
According to the group, “The Federal Government should create a Federal Ministry of livestock and Fisheries as obtainable in many African countries.”
“Government should take an inventory of all the existing grazing reserve traditional grazing areas, transhumance corridors, major stock routes and fully develop at least one grazing reserve in each senatorial zone line with the recommendation of the Inter-ministerial Committee Livestock Development in Nigeria 2015, the report of Presidential Committee on Pastoralists and Insecurity 2014 and the National Livestock Transformation Program”, he said.
Alhassan described the anti-grazing laws and policies as” nothing but populist and corruption driven agenda designed to destroy pastoralists means of livelihood.”
He said the laws do not take into cognizance the sociology, economic, production system, climate variations, and other push factors that are inherent in pastoralists’ movements across ecological zones.
The group further claimed that the laws will destroy livestock production and send into poverty millions of people that depend on the livestock value chain (Butchers, transporters, livestock dealers, and consumers who are used to affordable sources of milk).
“The laws will undermine the relative peace and stability currently enjoyed by the local communities and threaten the social order.
“The laws will exacerbate cattle rustling in the local communities as criminal gangs and states sponsored vigilantes will use the opportunity institutionalize their nefarious activities of cattle rustling.
“The laws will lead to serious humanitarian crisis as families will be destabile and markets and economic livelihoods will be disrupted
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“The laws will lead to massive cross border migrations that will create further security challenges”, the group said.
“These dangerous and satanic laws must be nib in the bud by the National Assembly to safeguard the constitution as it a potentially greater danger to the corporate existence of the country.
“These oppressive laws and hostile policies being enacted by state governors are fundamentally going against the Fulani Pastoralist culture, economic interest and constitutional rights.
“It is important to note that inter-state movement of pastoralists is analogous to interstate commerce, which is an exclusive preserve of the legislative powers of the National Assembly under item 62 of the Exclusive Legislative List.
“To this effect, any action taken by any state Assembly that is in conflict with an above section of the 1999 constitution as amended is null and void”, the pastoralists said.
They said they want existing African Union and ECOWAS Protocols/Regulations on pastoralist and implementation strategies put in place.
The group further called for the incorporation of pasture development in the implementation of the Great Green Wall Program in combating densification and the preservation of small water bodies
“A review of the land use Act is long overdue to accommodate the interest of all land resources users particularly pastoralists,” it further said.
Watch the Press Conference below:
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