Fulani cattle breeders in the country have urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to do everything possible to overturn anti-open grazing laws passed by some states across the country, calling the laws satanic and contrary to their long-standing tradition.
Cattle breeders affiliated with Miyetti Allah Kauta Hore expressed concern about state actions, particularly those in the South, claiming that they were counterproductive to their known economic business.
At a press conference in Abuja yesterday, the group’s National Publicity Secretary, Saleh Alhassan, condemned the ranching method of cattle rearing as enshrined in the anti-open grazing laws.
“Ranching, as many people imagine it, necessitates a large capital investment, is difficult to sustain, is not cost-effective, and is not centred on small livestock owners,” he said.
As a result, he urged the National Assembly to help pastoralists by resurrecting and passing the Grazing Reserves Commission Bill, as well as other livestock management bills introduced by the previous National Assembly.
He stated, “If anti-open grazing laws are allowed to stand, pastoralists’ economic activities will be destroyed.”
Instead of pushing forward with anti-open grazing legislation, the Fulani socio-cultural organisation argued that the country should focus on strategies for dealing with the challenges of climate change as it affects livestock production.
“We want the National Assembly and Mr President to intervene and stop the current attempt by some state governors to criminalise our economic livelihood of cattle rearing by enacting satanic and obnoxious laws – ‘Anti-open Grazing Laws’ targeted at Fulani pastoralists,” Alhassan stated.
“A Federal Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries should be established by the Federal Government, as is the case in many African countries.”
“The government should inventory all existing grazing reserves, traditional grazing areas, transhumance corridors, and major stock routes, and fully develop at least one grazing reserve in each senatorial zone, by the recommendation of the Inter-ministerial Committee Livestock Development in Nigeria 2015, the report of the Presidential Committee on Pastoralists and Insecurity 2014, and the recommendations of the Inter-ministerial Committee Livestock Development in Nigeria 2015, the report of the Presidential Committee on Pastoralists and
“It’s all about populism and corruption, and it’s all about destroying pastoralists’ livelihoods.”
“The laws, he claims, do not take into account the sociology, economics, production system, climate variations, and other push factors that drive pastoralists across ecological zones.“
He went on to say that the laws would destroy livestock production and throw millions of people out of work who rely on the livestock value chain (Butchers, transporters, livestock dealers and consumers who are used to affordable sources of being and milk)
“The laws will jeopardise the relative peace and stability that local communities currently enjoy, as well as social order.
“The laws will exacerbate cattle rustling in local communities by allowing criminal gangs and state-sponsored vigilantes to institutionalise their nefarious cattle rustling activities.
“The laws will result in a serious humanitarian crisis, as families will be disrupted, markets and economic livelihoods will be disrupted, and the laws will result in massive cross-border migrations, posing additional security risks.
“This dangerous and satanic legislation must be nipped in the bud by the National Assembly to protect the constitution, as it poses a greater threat to the country’s corporate existence.”
State governors’ oppressive laws and hostile policies are fundamentally at odds with Fulani Pastoralist culture, economic interests, and constitutional rights.
They’re showing their ignorance —Southern governors
In response to Miyetti Allah’s call, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, the chairman of the South-South Governors Forum and the governor of Delta State, said the group had only demonstrated its ignorance of the law.
Mr Olisa Ifeajika, Okowa’s Chief Press Secretary, said: “That shows their level of education and knowledge of the law.” Governors will be told to stop making laws to govern their states by the National Assembly. Isn’t that one in the constitution somewhere?
“Governors are making laws to govern their states, and a group is proposing to go to the National Assembly and ask governors to stop making laws to govern their states?” It demonstrates their level of understanding and knowledge of the laws of this country.”
”Well, we’ll see how far they’ll take it. I don’t think any governor will be willing to work with them on issues. Governors are the heads of their states; should the National Assembly intervene if they are making laws for the good governance of their states?
“Perhaps they’ll form their own National Assembly. In any case, anything can happen in this country nowadays. Governors have the authority to enact laws to ensure that their states are well-governed. Within the confines of this country’s Constitution, they are protected and empowered.
“Let us see how far those who want to contest it will go. My governor is not willing to work with them on any issues. The National Assembly does not appear to be asking governors not to make laws to govern their states.
“The governors are not attempting to amend any federal law; rather, they are attempting to make laws for the good governance of their states, which they are entitled to under the law. I’m not sure what they think of the National Assembly! It’s abnormal to even consider it alone.”
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