November 5, 2017

Benue’s Anti-Open Grazing Law: Miyetti Allah wants FG, NASS to intervene

Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has called on Federal Government, National Assembly (NASS) and international community to intervene in the Anti-Open Grazing Law operating in Benue.

The Chairman of the association, Danladi Ciroma, made the call on Sunday at a news conference in Lafia.

He said the law was implemented without due consultation with herdsmen in the state.

He added that “our people were not educated on modern method of rearing cattle so that when provision for ranching was being made, government would take into consideration the total number of cattle in the state.

“Due to lack of consultation, our people lack the technical know-how to conduct cattle ranching because even if we accept to practice it, we lack the needed expertise.

“We do not know the grass we need to grow and how it is grown, where to get it and how to preserve it for the cattle.”

He explained that countries like Kenya that successfully implemented ranching system spent more than  five years educating herdsmen and provided the much-needed facilities before it was implemented.

Ciroma said apart from those who were the direct beneficiaries of ranches, animal health experts needed to be trained, while clinics and abattoirs, among other things, were supposed to be provided.

He added that the state did not take any step before enacting the law .

The zonal chairman, therefore, appealed to Federal Government, NASS and the international community to urgently  prevail on the state government to reconsider the law for peace and unity in the area.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the association in Nasarawa State, Malam Mohammed Hussaini, said
the implementation of the law in Benue led to influx of herdsmen and their cattle to Nasarawa, noting that the situation should be checked to avert conflicts between herdsmen and farmers.

Hussaini explained that the influx of cattle to Nasarawa had led to destruction of many
farm produce and appealed to relevant authorities to intervene to check any crisis in border towns.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Nasarawa, Idrisu Kennedy, however, gave
the assurance that measures were being taken to avert any incident.

The PPRO  explained that the efforts of the  police and other security agencies, as well as that of the state government and traditional rulers were geared toward averting breakdown of law and order in the state.

Newsmen report that the chairman of association in Benue and other herdsmen from North Central states attended the news conference.

The Benue Government had enacted an anti-open grazing law and fixed Nov. 1, 2017 as date to commence its implementation.

The state government stated that the law was in line with Section 4(7)(a) of the Constitution, Section 1 of the Land Use Act Chapter 202 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990.

The Section states that all land comprised in the territory of each state in the federation are vested in the governor of that state and such land shall be held in trust and administered for the use and common benefit of all Nigerians in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

To this end, Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue said it was in the spirit and letters of those enabling laws of the land that the Open Grazing (Prohibition) and Establishment of Ranches Law, 2017 was proposed and was judiciously enacted by Benue State House of Assembly.