…Calls for more time
…Admits infiltration of Fulani bandits in S’West
By Olasunkanmi Akoni and Nelson Alu
The Secretary, Zonal South West, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, Mai-Kudu Usman, has said that banning open cattle grazing may give rise to tension and cost of cows in Lagos State.
This came just as MACBAN, acknowledged the presence of some Fulani bandits in South West, who should be weeded out, saying they are not members of Miyatti-Alla.
Usman, stated this on Wednesday, while giving a submission at the one day public hearing on a bill for an law to prohibit open cattle grazing in Lagos, the trespass of cattle on land and for other connected purposes, organised by the state House of Assembly, Committee on Agriculture, at Alausa, Ikeja.
Recall that the state Assembly had on Monday, committed the bill on prohibition of open grazing to committees for consideration.
The anti open grazing bill was committed to the committee on agriculture after it scaled second reading.
Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, during the plenary session, described the ‘Prohibition of Open Cattle Grazing Bill’ as timely and one that would ensure harmonious relationships between herders and farmers and protect the environment of the state and the southwest zone.
Obasa, also suggested that the bill should make provision for the registration of herders and prepare them for ranching.
“Allocating percel of land is not enough but there should be training of those who would go into ranching because ranching is expensive and required adequate preparation,” he said
According to Usman: “We can’t rear our cattle in one place, because what the cattle will eat and consume will be very expensive if I can’t move them around.
” I can assure you that if we are made to graze on a secluded area, the cost of breeding a cow will be very high and the cost to sell one cow will be nothing less than N2 million.
“Also, because the Fulani herders are migrating to South West that’s why we are having damages to farmlands. And now the bad eggs among the Fulani herders have turned into bandits.
“Therefore, we are suggesting a deal whereby, when I’m bringing herds, I inform and notify the local government chairman or Baale of the community that i am coming with my cows so that they will know that i am there and be registered.
“But, we have discovered that some strangers called Fulani herders have infiltrated the ranks of Miyatti -Alla. We are taking steps already to weed them out of our group. Miyatti-Alla is a peaceful, and peace loving group.
“These Fulani herders come from nowhere and damage some people’s farm and that is why we are having problems.
“We are having a national conference of MACBAN to be held in Abuja, next year in January where all issues concerning the Fulani invasion into Miyatti-Alla will be addressed in order to fish them out of our group.
“What we want the Lagos state government to do is to register any cattle that are coming into Lagos State. Let them be registered with chairman of local government or the local chiefs “Baale” of the local government this will make for easy identification incase of any infraction(s)
“That’s why we are urging the state House of Assembly and the Lagos State Government to give us more time so that we can go back and sentisize our members on the bill for law and how to breed our cows henceforth without resorting to violence among residents.”
Part of the bill read: “The prohibition of open cattle grazing Any person that owns or is in control of cattle and causes or permits such cattle to graze on any land that does not belong to the owner of the cattle, or is not within an area designated for cattle grazing, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to payment of a fine of fN50, 000, per head of cattle and payment for the costs incurred for impounding, transporting and maintaining the cattle by the order of the court.
“Any person that owns or is in control of such impounded cattle must claim them before the expiration of seven days from the day the cattle were impounded or be liable to permanent forfeiture of such cattle by order of court.
“All unclaimed cattle under subsection two (2) of this section shall be publicly auctioned.
“Where a person that owns or is in control of impounded cattle is charged to court under the provisions of this law, a record shall be kept by the court of particulars such as the photograph, address and phone number of such owner or person in control of the cattle.
“Any person who owns or is in control of cattle and is a second time offender, shall on conviction be liable to forfeiture of the cattle and the payment of a fine of N 100, 000, or forfeiture of the cattle and imprisonment for a term of one year or forfeiture of the cattle.
“Approval for enclosed grazing required
Any person that owns or is in control of cattle shall not cause or permit such cattle to graze in an enclosed land, without obtaining approval from the Ministries of Environment and Agriculture.
“Such approval shall not be granted where the enclosed land is within a residential area.
“Herding of cattle while in possession of Firearms and dangerous weapons.
“Any person found to be in possession of firearms while herding cattle commits an offence and is liable on conviction to 21 years imprisonment.
“Any person found to be in possession of a dangerous weapon or object, with intent to wound or cause grievous bodily harm to another person while herding cattle, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to 7 years imprisonment.”