The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) has warned that the price of a cow could go up as high as N2 million if the Lagos State Government passes the proposed anti-open grazing law.
The association’s zonal secretary for South-West, Maikudi Usman, made the disclosure on Wednesday during a one-day public hearing organised by the state House of Assembly on the anti-open grazing bill.
Mr Usman said ranching, as being proposed by the government, was capital intensive and his members could not afford it.
“If cattle are bred in one place, the price could go up to about two million naira each. We agreed with some local chiefs in other states that anyone who wants to rear cows in a location should register and should indicate when he is leaving,” he disclosed.
The Miyetti Allah leader added that the best way to breed cattle was to move them from one place to another, saying that they were moved to different places during the rainy and dry season.
“Our breeders are not used to breeding cattle in one place. They move from here to another place.
“When we say we will keep cattle in one place, the owner of the cattle will not have funds to feed the animals in one place.”
Making further excuses, Mr Usman pleaded with the government for more time to enlighten herdsmen on breeding cattle in one place rather than encroaching on farmlands.
“We are pleading with the Lagos State government to give us more time to go tell our people and train them how they will be breeding cattle in one place and not encroach on farmers’ land,” he said.
Mr Usman further urged the state government to subsidise the cost of raising the animals in one location.
He detached his group from criminal herdsmen that have been destroying people’s farm among other criminal activities such as armed robbery and kidnapping.
“A Fulani man moves from one place to another to ply his trade, but we have some bad eggs that are fomenting trouble.
The government should allow us to tell our people that they don’t want our cows to destroy people’s farmlands,” he pleaded.
“We have met with stakeholders in Ekiti, Ondo and even Oyo States and we reached agreements with them.”
In his own remarks the president of the Lagos State Sheep Farmers Association, Mustapha Ibrahim, said that the bill was not meant to attack anybody, but that it was all-embracing.
Mr Ibrahim noted that land resources were very important to the state, adding that the relationship between cattle herders and farmers should be symbiotic.
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He also called for legislation to promote the creation of farm estates across the state.
Also, chairman of Lagos State Butchers Association, Alabi Kazeem, urged the assembly to support the cattle breeders as breeding cattle in one location could be expensive.
Earlier, the Lagos Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, in his keynote address, said it was important to address the issue of cattle rearing, which could affect security of lives because it was a pointer to peaceful co-existence and other human desires.
Mr Obasa, represented by the Deputy Speaker, Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, said that the issue of cattle rearing and open grazing called for concerted efforts for stability and economic development.
In his welcome address, Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, Kehinde Joseph, said the proposed law was meant to ensure peace between herders and farmers in the state.
Mr Joseph said it was meant to ensure the registration of herders and prohibit cattle roaming and imposes stiffer punishment on those who carry arms to rear cattle.
“It will forestall herders-farmers clashes and redefine social and economic activities in the state.
“Members of cattle breeders association will be sensitised on the new development and we will ensure strict compliance with the law, when it is passed,” he said.
Over the years, criminal invasion of farmlands by herders has resulted in deadly clashes around the country.
In the past few months, governors from southern Nigeria have pushed for outright ban of open grazing in the region, setting a deadline for the enactment of enabling laws.
Fulani herdsmen have been accused of perpetrating criminal activities such as rape, kidnapping, destruction of farms etc. in forests and highways in the country, especially the South.
The bill was entitled: “A bill for a law to Prohibit Open Cattle Grazing In Lagos State, the Trespass of Cattle Land And For Other Connected Purposes”.
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