By Ejikeme Omenazu
Farmers in the South-Eastern part of the country under the auspices of Igbo Farmers Progressive Union, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call the Miyetti Allah Cattle
Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) to order, insisting that no group should kill others in the country.
Kelechi Isiodu, Director New Media, Igbo Farmers Progressive Union, in a statement made available to DAILY INDEPENDENT, on Tuesday, the union noted that prior to the 2015 election, Buhari was named the National Grand Patron of Miyetti Allah.
The union referred to statements credited to one Abdullahi Bodejo, Miyetti Allah Leader, and Kautel Hore, national president of the association, in which they maintained that every state in the country deserved a RUGA.
The union also stated that Bodejo had described the Fulani as the largest ethnic group in the country, and as such ought to be given places to settle all over the country.
“We now request him to call them to order and arrest the rising tension in the land through their nefarious activities.
State governments that so desire, should feel free to legislatively ban open grazing of cattle without further delay.
“In the first place, it is a lie from the pit of hell that Fulani are the largest ethnic group in Nigeria. Far from it, without latching on the Hausa, these migrants mostly from Futa Jallon, are a minority, and not indigenous to Nigeria.
“In their imperialist and expansionist agenda, they have over the centuries rode roughshod over other ethnic groups and communities encroached on their land and in many cases taken over or sacked the same using RUGA methods. The Hausa definition of RUGA is ‘cow
“As a bridge to cattle nomadism, Northern regional government in the 1960s created Cattle Grazing Route Reserves in the North. Grazing Route has outlived its usefulness in the 21st century.
“To put cattle nomadic rearing or grazing reserves on Nigeria’s development agenda today is the equivalent of insisting upon buying Olimpia typewriters instead of laptop and desktop computers for our institutions and industries.
Animal husbandry, like crop farming, is a private economic undertaking. Individual ranching is the acceptable means of rearing animals today.
Animal husbandry has always been a privatised economic engagement in Nigeria and it will be a waste of resources and an anomaly to single out cattle rearing in Nigeria for nationalisation,” the union explained.
It maintained that the Bank of Industry, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other government agencies that had been providing funding and support for agricultural activities did not discriminate between animal and crop farming.
The union stressed that there existed enough institutional support for proper individual ranching of cattle rearing in Nigeria, adding that what was most required was for the Federal Government to encourage all state governments to enact law banning open grazing of animals in line with the peculiarities of each state.
It stressed: “The herdsmen terrorism that open grazing of cattle has created wanton destruction of water resources, cattle rustling, crop farmers are always on the run from their farms and homes, food insecurity, low cattle and milk production given our population and
wide and wild ethnic tension, among many others.
“We are concerned with the double speak of the Federal Government on the RUGA issue. In one breathe the programme is suspended, in another, the Vice-President is commissioning the project in Gombe.
“We do not have issues with states like Borno that have donated the entire Sambisa forest to herders. Nor with states like Bauchi and Zamfara that are interested in the project.
“However, the entire South East have through their governors decidedly rejected the Rural Grazing Area aka RUGA project for stated reasons.
“We only demand that any funds for the project must be equally accessed by all states so that it may be deployed to agricultural projects that are in tandem with their environment and cultural milieu.
“We note that prior to election as President in 2015, the president was the National Grand Patron of Miyetti Allah. We now request him to call them to order and arrest the rising tension in the land through their nefarious activities.
“State governments that so desire should feel free to legislatively ban Open Grazing of cattle without further delay.” (DAILYINDEPENDENT)