FULANI cattle herdsmen body Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore has given the Nigerian government conditions which have to be met for it to agree to end the age old practise of engaging in open grazing across the country.
Over recent years, Nigeria has been plagued with the menace of heavily armed Fulani cattle herdsmen attacking local farming communities as disputes over grazing rights have led to clashes. In response to farmers objecting to livestock destroying their crops, the herdsmen, equipped with AK47s have been known to lay waste to villages, leaving hundreds dead, which has led to several state governments introducing anti-grazing laws.
Earlier this year, the Southern Governors Forum reached a consensus to ban open grazing, compelling all cattle rearers and pastoralists to operate from ranches. Although the main Fulani herdsmen’s body the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (Macban) has accepted the principle of ranching, its breakaway faction Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, has not until now.
However, with the inevitable certain to happen, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore has said it is willing to quit open grazing if the Nigerian government would make finance and logistics available for its members to create alternatives. Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore brand ambassador, Temitope Ajayi, said herdsmen cannot suddenly quit the age-long practice because there is no alternative way yet to feed their cattle.
Mrs Ajayi said: “There is a need to re-orientate and change the mindset and perceptions of the Fulani herders, farmers and other entities in Nigeria. We also need to modernise cattle breeding and end the outdated practices of open grazing and other nomadic activities, bringing them up to international best practices standards.”
She added that herdsmen would leave farmlands as soon as ranches that are being proposed by some government officials, particularly southern state governors, are provided. Already, the Yoruba agricultural producers cooperative Agbekoya Farmers’ Association has warned herdsmen groups that they faces severe consequences if they do not obey the ban on open grazing introduced across southwest Nigeria.