By Festus Ahon & Joseph Erunke
FULANI cattle breeders in the country have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to do everything possible to frustrate anti-open grazing laws being passed by some states across the country, describing the laws as satanic against their age-long tradition.
The cattle breeders, operating under the aegis of Miyetti Allah Kauta Hore, expressed concerns over the actions of the states, particularly Southern states, insisting that they were counterproductive to their known economic business.
National Publicity Secretary of the group, Saleh Alhassan, at a briefing in Abuja yesterday, decried the ranching method of rearing cattle as captured in the anti-open grazing laws.
“Ranching as envisaged by many requires massive capital investment and difficult to sustain, not economical and is not for small livestock holder centered,” he said.
Consequently, he called on the National Assembly to come to the rescue of the pastoralists by resuscitating and passing the Grazing Reserves Commission Bill and other livestock management bills initiated by the previous National Assembly.
READ ALSO: Miyetti Allah begs Buhari, NASS to stop implementation of anti-open grazing laws by states
He said: If the anti-open grazing laws are allowed, economic activities of the pastoralists would be completely destroyed.“The Fulani socio-cultural organisation insisted that the country must, instead of pressing ahead with the anti-open grazing laws, key into strategies in responding to the challenges of climate change as it affects livestock production.
Alhassan stated: “We want the National Assembly and Mr. President to intervene and stop current attempt by some state governors to criminalize our means of economic livelihood of cattle rearing through the enactment of satanic and obnoxious laws – ‘Anti-open Grazing Laws’ targeted at Fulani pastoralists.
“The Federal Government should create a Federal Ministry of livestock and Fisheries as obtainable in many African countries.”
“Government should take an inventory of all the existing grazing reserve traditional grazing areas, transhumance corridors, major stock routes and fully develop at least one grazing reserve in each senatorial zone in line with the recommendation of the Inter-ministerial Committee Livestock Development in Nigeria 2015, the report of Presidential Committee on Pastoralists and Insecurity 2014 and the National Livestock Transformation Programme.
“Nothing but populist and corruption driven agenda designed to destroy pastoralists means of livelihood.”“He said the laws do not take into cognizance the sociology, economic, production system, climate variations and other push factors inherent in pastoralists’ movements across ecological zones.“He said further that the laws would destroy livestock production and send into poverty million people that depend on the livestock value chain (Butchers, transporters, livestock dealers and consumers who are used to affordable sources of be and milk)
“The laws will undermine the relative peace and stability currently enjoyed by the local communities and threaten social order.
“The laws will exacerbate cattle rustling in the local communities as criminal gangs and states sponsored vigilantes will use the opportunity institutionalize their nefarious to activities of cattle rustling.
“The laws will lead to serious humanitarian crisis as families will be distabilised and markets and economic livelihoods will be disrupted and the laws will lead to massive cross border migrations that will create further security challenges.
“This dangerous and satanic laws must be nipped in the bud by the National Assembly to safeguard the constitution as it potents greater danger to the corporate existence of the country.“
This oppressive laws and hostile policies being enacted by state governors are fundamentally going against the Fulani Pastoralist culture, economic interest and constitutional rights.
They’re displaying ignorance —S-South govs
Reacting to Miyetti Allah’s call, Chairman of South South Governors Forum and governor of Delta State, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, said the group had only displayed its ignorance of the law.
Okowa, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, said: “That shows their level of education and knowledge of the law. National Assembly will tell governors to stop making laws to govern their states. Where is that one in the constitution?
“Governors are making laws to govern their states, a group is saying it wants to go to the National Assembly to asked governors to stop making laws to govern their states? It demonstrates their level of knowledge and understanding of laws of this country. ’’
”Well, let’s see how far they will go with it. I don’t see any governor who will be ready to join issues with them. Governors are heads of their states; so if they are making laws for the good governance of their states, the National Assembly should stop them?
“May be they will create their own National Assembly. Anyway, anything happens in this country these days. The governors have the right to make laws for the good governance of their states. They are protected and empowered within the ambit of the Constitution of this land.
“So, they that want to contest it, let us see how far they will go. My governor is not ready to join issues with them at all in anyway. I don’t see the National Assembly asking governors not to make laws to govern their states.
“The governors are not trying to make laws to change any federal law; they are to make laws for the good governance of their states and they are entitled to that within the law. I don’t know how they see the National Assembly! To even contemplate it alone, is abnormal.”