The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) says the North cannot afford to ignore the recent unanimous decision of southern governors to place a ban on open grazing in their states.
National Secretary of MACBAN, Baba Othman Ngelzarma, said northern governors should rise up to the challenge by working out a solution of their own that will be generally acceptable.
He said: “We can’t ignore the unanimous demand of the entire governments of the south on a particular issue.
“If the southern governors can be in agreement on an aspect, that means it is an issue and deserves to be given serious attention.
“In a situation where the entire southern populace is synonymous with a particular aspect, I think this aspect deserves to be given attention.
“But the northern governors need to speak with their southern counterparts so that they can come up with a solution that is generally acceptable.”
He said the northern governors should also consider reactivating the over 400 inactive grazing reserves in the north and make them attractive for pastoralists to settle.
Ngelzarma added that the grazing reserves, if reactivated, with the provision of schools, veterinary clinics, hospital services among others, it would give the pastoralists an opportunity to be educated and also stop them from roaming.
His words: “Ranching is a long-term issue. Since we have these grazing reserves lying idle, why can’t we reactivate them?
“We as an association believe settlements for the pastoralists will be the only solution that will solve the farmers/herders conflicts in the country.”
He said the grazing reserves which cover an area of 5 million hectares in the north should be reactivated in the interim before considering ranching which may take a long time and process to complete.
Ngelzarma urged the federal government to design a policy to tackle the problem of farmers/herders conflicts.
The MACBAN scribe also urged the National Assembly to come up with legislation that will put an end to the issue.
He said: “The time of roaming about looking for pasture is almost over, considering the growth in population of the country, challenges of land and climate change. This calls for effective planning on the part of the federal government.
“Why can’t the northern governors begin to make these areas attractive to the pastoralists? Why can’t they reactivate and make the grazing reserves functional?
“The moment they provide water and pastures in the grazing reserves, this will attract the pastoralists in the south to relocate back to the north.
“It is only when you give them a place to stay that’s when you will have the opportunity to give them education and also provide them with veterinary clinics, hospital services among others, which will stop them from roaming about.”