■Let Houses of Assembly in S’East enact anti-grazing law —Okwesilieze Nwodo
By Dennis Agbo & Ikechukwu Odu
The South East Chairman of Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, Gidado Siddiki, said that the ban on open grazing by the Governors of Southern Nigeria will remain ineffective until an alternative to open grazing is provided for the herders.
MACBAN spoke as the former National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, called on all the states Houses of Assembly in South East Nigeria to enact anti-grazing law in their respective states to stop open grazing of cattle in the zone.
Gidado Siddiki said that the public hearing on constitution review would have provided opportunity for all parties to make submissions for a law against open grazing, but that his group was not given the opportunity to make submission.
He also said that ranching has not been provided for them as an alternative in conducting their business.
Siddiki said: “Our position is that we are not opposed to the ban on open grazing, but at least we need an alternative.
“You know when somebody is doing business and you stop him from doing that business, he would be given an alternative on what to do.
“When you say that you have banned open grazing, you need to tell us how we should graze our cows because what we know is grazing. If there is an alternative, there is no problem, and that is the only thing we are begging for.
“The governors should tell us because when you want to enact a law on somebody, you have to call him so that you can tell him what he can do and you and that person will put heads together before you can do that law.
“Now that they are doing a public hearing on constitution review, they are collecting opinions, they should come up with it if they want to ban open grazing so that all of us will put our heads together. If open grazing is bringing problems, let us find ways we can coexist.”
Reminded that ranching has been proposed as an option to open grazing, Siddiki queried, “Is there any provision for that ranching?
“If there is provision for ranching, we can do ranching but I don’t think there is provision for ranching. Even in Benue State that said it has banned open grazing and will do ranching, I don’t think there has been any ranching in Benue State in all these years.
“So, I don’t know if there is provision and that is our own problem. We were not given a chance to go for the Constitution review public hearing, we went there but nobody gave us an audience to talk. We did not submit a petition.”
Let Houses of Assembly in S’East enact anti-grazing law —Okwesilieze Nwodo
Dr. Nwodo who was a former governor of Enugu State said that it would be difficult to enforce what is not a law across the states in South East.
He said that when the law is enacted, violators would be prosecuted and punished according to the provisions of the law.
“The first thing is for our lawmakers to pass anti-grazing laws in their respective Houses of Assembly. You cannot enforce something that is not a law.
“Having passed that, anybody who violates it, runs foul of the law and would be prosecuted and punished according to the provisions of the law,” he said.
The statesman who described the security situation in South East as worrisome, assured that the stakeholders are already putting measures in place to nip the ugly development in the bud.
(Vanguard News Nigeria)