The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, the umbrella body of Fulani Herdsmen in Nigeria, has said its members accept grazing reserves, saying the nomads are not yet ready for Ranches.
MACBAN’s Chairman, Kaduna State branch, Haruna Usman Tugga, disclosed this while addressing journalists in Kaduna on the recent attack on their member in Southern Kaduna, which left the victim’s one hand allegedly amputated.
Tugga said cattle breeders have designated grazing reserves in the entire 19th Northern States and some states in the South, urging the government to gazette the Herdsmen with the Grazing Reserves.
“For now, our candid opinion is that we are not yet ready for Ranches, but we are ready for Grazing Reserves. We’re not asking for additional land from the farmers; these areas have been identified and designated, some of them even surveyed. All we are saying is that the state government should be courageous enough to gazette these grazing reserves and allow our people to settle in it,” he said.
According to him, while their members are in the Reserve, they could, later on, be turned into Ranches, arguing that Ranches is a capital-intensive venture. He noted that starting with Ranches would absolutely be difficult, since not every cattle breeder would be able to afford to maintain a Ranch.
Tugga said even in developed nations where Ranches are widely in practice, it started with grazing reserves. “But that does not stop those with the means to commence applying for Ranches, in as much as you can afford to maintain; but we need gazette grazing reserves now for our people to be allowed in,” he added, saying “you don’t expect someone with only ten cows to sell them and buy land.”
The MACBAN chairman also noted that farmers, particularly in Southern Kaduna, have been made to believe that grazing reserves is aimed at confiscating their lands, describing the notion as “deceptive.”
“We have about 14 designed grazing reserves in Kaduna state, and two funder ban, and those reserves have been there. They are government properties; those going there are encroaching, even in Pambegwua area.”
Tugga told journalists that, the victim herdsman, Abubakar Muhammed, was migrating from Nasarawa State to Laduga in Kachia area of Kaduna state when he was attacked by some group, who cut off his left-hand. He appealed to the government to bring the perpetrators to book.
He expressed displeasure that, despite the signing of MoU in the area, one detractor continues to attack Fulani.
Grazing reserves, he said, would curtail clashes between farmers and herdsmen and as well enable them know as to when foreign herdsmen would migrate in and out of the country’s territory.