The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), has urged northern governors to dialogue with their counterparts in the south and come up an workable arrangement over the recent ban on open grazing in the region.
Reacting to the Tuesday declaration of the governors in Asaba, Delta State, National Secretary of MACBAN, Baba Othman Ngelzarma, said the decision of the governors cannot be ignored.
“We can’t ignore the unanimous demand of the entire governments of the south on a particular issue”, Ngelzarma told The Nation on Saturday.
“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 northern governors should also consider reactivating the over 400 inactive grazing reserves in the region and make them attractive for pastoralists to settle.
He stressed that the grazing reserves, if reactivated, with the provision of schools, veterinary clinics, hospital services among others, will give the pastoralists an opportunity to be educated and stop them from roaming.
“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 stated.
The Miyetti Allah national secretary 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 to complete.
Ngelzarma urged the Federal Government to design a policy to tackle the problem of farmer/herder conflict.
“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 an 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,” he stated.
He urged the National Assembly to come up with a legislation that will put an end to the issue.