January 31, 2023

We ‘re not against ranching but…- Herders

…Urge FG to fine-tune NLTP

…Say Fulani endangered specie

Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief

The Coalition of Pastoralists Association of Nigeria (CPAN), an umbrella organisation of pastoralists groups in Nigeria, yesterday, said that herders in the country were in support of ranching, as against open grazing has given rise to incessant conflicts between them and crop farmers.

Leaders of the CPAN led by Baba Othman Ngelzarma, President of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) made their position known at a press conference in Abuja.

He explained, however, that the federal government needed to do more in fine-tuning the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) by incorporating herders’ associations and intensive sensitization campaigns to educate the nomadic Fulani on the advantages of ranching.

His words, “We are not opposed to ranching. When people talk about cattle herders settling down, the question is what kind of settlement? You have to understand their culture and their movement for pastures.

“There hasn’t been any attempt by anybody to let them know the modern way of cattle rearing. These are people who see what they do as their lives. They are not interested in the quality of the cattle. They only want the quantity, the number of their cows. It is not their fault because that is all they know. This is a multi-trillion Naira business that is left in the hands of untrained people. The herders are untrained, the dealers, the transporters and the processors are all untrained.”

The MACBAN President said, “Ranching is capital intensive. Some of these pastoralists have very few cows and cannot afford what it takes to operate a ranch which requires large sums of money to buy land, buy feed, provide water and all that are necessary to operate a successful ranch.”

He blamed state governments that enacted anti-open grazing laws without providing alternatives for the herders, as according to him, such laws have not solved the problems.

Fulani targeted

Alh. Ngelzarma said that CPAN’s main objective was the promotion of peace and enhancing the welfare of its members in the country.

He said that those killed in a recent airstrike in Doma Local Government Area of Nassarawa State were not bandits or cattle rustlers, describing the incident as, “a recipe for genocide.”

The president blamed the mass movement of cattle rearers from the North to Southern Nigeria on climate change.

“Acoording to him, “To start with, we all know that global warming is a reality and it has affected the Lake Chad massively, forcing our people to move down south in search of water and food for our livestock. While the Nigerian government has not lifted any finger to recharge the Lake Chad and make it habitable for our people, it has watched on helplessly as different communities and state governments across the North Central and Southern parts of the country treat the Fulani as irritants or second class citizens who have no right to live or who do not deserve to have a source of living.

“The state governments formulate obnoxious laws targeted at chasing our people away. They ban open grazing without providing infrastructure for alternatives. They therefore seize our cows and arrest out people recklessly, fine them unreasonable amounts and everyone is watching as if all is well.

“We are not happy as our businesses are suffering massively from the conspiracy of the government and other Nigerians.

“The Fulani have been the target of stereotypes, ethnic cleansing and mass murder in almost all states of the Federation. From Zamfara in the North-West to Adamawa, Taraba in the North-East, Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa in the North-Central, down to Ondo and Oyo in the South-West, or worse still the South-Eastern states, the Fulani people have been a subject of hatred, annihilation for unjustifiable reasons.”