by Ebunoluwa Olafusi
The Ondo state chapter of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) says it is time for herders to seek modern alternatives to open grazing.
The association also called on the government to make provision for ranches as a way of putting an end to frequent clashes between herders and farmers.
Bello Garba, chairman of the association in the state, said this in Akure on Wednesday during a public hearing on a bill to regulate grazing of livestock and provide for the establishment of ranches, among other related issues.
Garba said the association would support any peaceful move to address the issue, adding that farmers and herders must carry out their respective activities without clashing.
According to him, the association has also appealed to the state government to register Fulani men in all the LGAs of the state.
On his part, Ibrahim Abdul-Rahman, assistant secretary of the association, explained that open grazing had become obsolete and needed to be banned.
Abdul-Rahman asked all stakeholders to embrace modern cattle rearing techniques, saying farmers and herders must allow peace to reign considering the importance of both parties to the nation’s growth.
While declaring the public hearing open, Bamidele Oloyelogun, speaker of the assembly, said it was aimed at enhancing peaceful coexistence in the state.
Oloyelogun added that if similar moves had been made in the past, it would have been a different story today.
“It is for peace to reign in our state. This record will go a long way, having effects even on the children yet unborn,” Oloyelogun said.
“Your memoranda and suggestions will be welcome. Please, feel free to air your views and bare your minds, but we must be objective and constructive.”
The speaker explained that grazing would be regulated with the provision of modern techniques in animal husbandry.
He enjoined participants to shun sentiments, saying “we are all one.”
In his remarks, Taofik Mohammed, chairman of the house committee on agriculture, noted that one of the provisions of the bill is to achieve a peaceful atmosphere in the state.
The lawmaker said it was regrettable that some criminally-minded people had been hiding under the farmers-herders crisis to wreak havoc on innocent citizens.
He explained that the effects of the lingering misunderstanding between farmers and herders have grave effects on the economy, growth and development of the state.
“It is obvious that GDP will adversely drop whenever food and animal production is hampered,” he said.
Mohammed urged participants to take full advantage of the hearing and make invaluable suggestions.
In January, Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo, had ordered herders to vacate the state’s forest reserves. The order sparked off a chain of controversies.
Amid the insecurity and tension caused by clashes between farmers and herders in some parts of the region, south-west governors have also banned open grazing in the region.