July 21, 2017

Taraba anti-grazing law unjust, draconian – Cattle breeders

The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, on Friday described the open grazing prohibition bill passed by Taraba House of Assembly as an unjust and draconian legislation aimed at forcing cattle breeders out of the state.

The North- East Chairman of the association, Alhaji Mafindi Danburam made the assertion in an interview with newsmen in Jalingo.

According to him, the provision for establishment of ranches in the bill is mere deception as the state government would never provide enough land for ranches.

“Not long ago, the Federal Government requested for about 5000 hectares of land from the state to establish ranches.

“As I speak with you that demand has not been met because the government said it had no enough land to allocate.

“Now, if the same government said it does not have enough land to allocate to the federal, where is it going to get land to allocate same to cattle breeders.

“Besides, this bill conflicts with extant national and international laws that permit freedom of movement of people and their animals across West Africa.

“The truth is this legislation is simply aimed at frustrating our members and tactically forcing them to leave the state,” Danburam said.

The chairman said the association would challenge the law in court as it was against provisions on freedom of movement of people contained in the Constitution.

Danburam noted that herdsmen were the only citizens in the country that hardly enjoy infrastructure and social amenities provided by government.

“ Look, this systematic injustice meted against our people can be found even in budgetary allocations.

“ Since the emergence if this administration in 2015, no single Kobo was budgeted for livestock management till date, yet our members are compelled to pay taxes.

“ How can a right thinking person expect anything good for us from a government that has failed to provide pasture development, animal vaccination, and did nothing to secure cattle routes?

“ We have compiled all the injustices meted against us, including this draconian bill. We have submitted same to relevant authorities and very soon, we will seek for legal redress in a competent court of law,” he said.

On why the association boycotted the public hearing on the bill, Damburam said the hearing coincided with the funeral of its members killed in the recent violent conflict in parts of Sardauna Council Area.

The chairman insisted that the Sardauna crises was politically motivated contrary to claims in some quarters that it was a farmers-herdsmen conflict.

He restated the association’s call on the federal government to set up a judicial committee to investigate the killings and prosecute perpetrators.

Newsmen report that both Taraba State Government and the state assembly have maintained that the open grazing prohibition law is the only solution to farmers-herdsmen clashes in the state.