The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has given it’s nod to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike to deal with herders that are allowing their cows to graze in the city centre.
It, however, raised concerns that the areas mapped out for the herders to graze their cows in the outskirts of Abuja have been taken over by farmers.
MACBAN President, Baba Ngelzarma said these during an interview.
Wike had after his inauguration on Monday said he was determined to restore the FCT masterplan.
He threatened to demolish buildings that do not align with the original master plan. He further raised concerns that grasses planted to beautify the FCT has been converted by herders to grazing fields.
Wike warned that cows were not allowed inside the city but they could graze in the Gwagwalada, Abaji, and neighboring areas of the city.
Ngelzarma said that MACBAN has equally set sanctions for pastoralists who breach Wike’s orders.
Ngelzarma said the association had an agreement with the federal government to stop pastoralists from grazing or moving into the mapped-out city areas because it constitutes a nuisance.
“We have an agreement with the federal government that from Area 1 to Area 11 in Garki, from Wuse Zone 1 to Zone 7, Maitama, and Asokoro within the central area, it is very embarrassing to see cows roaming the main city.
“This we have done with the leadership of the association at the FCT levels, Area Council levels, and the immediate Fulani leadership grass root levels. We have called them and had series of engagements with them in the FCT to stop roaming the main cities with their cows.
“So, whoever is allowed to be caught rearing his cattle in the main city is on his own, whoever is allowed to be caught, the law should take its cause, this is because we have severally discussed and drawn the attention of the pastoralist,” Ngelzarma said.
According to him, there are ongoing efforts made by the association to sensitize its members again.
The MACBAN president claimed that the grazing reserves in the outskirts of the city which was mapped out for pastoralists have been illegally hijacked by farmers.
Ngelzarma said it will likely result into clashes between farmers and herders.
He said, “Regarding the outskirt of the city, there will be a problem because we have grazing reserves in the FCT that are not being developed. Rather, they are being encroached on by farmers who are illegally living and claiming the grazing reserves to be theirs.
“And once pastoralists decide to use the grazing reserves, this will create problems between them. The government needs to be serious about creating and developing these grazing reserves.”
Ngelzarma however urged the FCT Minister to develop the mapped-out grazing reserves into ranches that suit the peculiarities of pastorals.
“What we expect the minister to do for us is to develop all the grazing reserves on the outskirt of Abuja so that all the pastoralists leaving Abuja can settle there while measures will be taken to enable them to settle.
“This will enable them to have enough green pastures without having to roam about. The minister should create a model for the settlement of pastoralists that other governors can emulate. What we have are grazing areas, those areas can be developed into community ranch and today, we have the concept of ranches that can be acceptable by communities because it suits their peculiarities.
“We need the ministers to work with us closely so we can develop a settlement model. Also harnessing the livestock sector will help the government in revenue generation as well as security rather than seeing pastoralists as a security threat.”
The MACBAN boss said he hopes the former Rivers State governor will replicate his records in his state.
“We are looking at him as somebody who can transform the livestock sector into a beneficial sector for the government and the pastoralist. This is because we see him as a bulldozer that intends and does what is necessary for development,” Ngelzarma said.