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Herdsmen vow to challenge anti-grazing law in court

Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has said that it would continue to challenge the antigrazing laws introduced by some state governments in court. National Secretary of the association, Baba Ngelzarma, made the declaration while speaking with newsmen in Abuja yesterday.

He said the pastoralists, who were largely uneducated, would view the anti-grazing laws, when implemented, as forcing them out of their ancestral and cultural way of earning a living. According to him, implementing the laws will create another crisis in the country. Ngelzarma said the revival of grazing reserves across the country would aid eff orts to stop the roaming of cattle and pastoralists. He said grazing reserves across the country had been devastated through encroachment by farmers, destruction by desertifi cation or neglect on the part of the government.

“We are going to challenge this anti-grazing law in courts and some of us have taken the matter to international court because that is the only option left for us. “Th is is a breach of the constitution and the fundamental human rights of our members. “We are not against ranching. Th e pastoralist will embrace it but that cannot be right away but it will be overtime. “You have to educate them to know the benefi ts of ranching.

“Th ese pastoralists will take the law as something that is totally strange, a plot to take them away from what they inherited from their forefathers. Th ey will see it as a failure on their part. “If these grazing reserves that we have in the North can be maintained and rehabilitated, with the provision of boreholes and grasses, I see no reason why the pastoralist will continue to roam around. “We are sensitising our people to the need for them to remain peaceful; not to originate or look for trouble, not to encroach into peoples’ farms,’’ he said.

Th e national secretary said that settling down of pastoralists would be slowly achieved through sustained enlightenment. He added that it would be virtually impossible for pastoralists to roam in the next 10 to 20 years because of the growing population. Ekiti, Taraba and Benue States have enacted the anti-open grazing laws. Th e laws stipulate that herdsmen must engage in cattle ranching in order to rear their animals. (NAN)

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