Featured Image: MACBAN North Central Chairman, Danladi Ciroma
Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has appealed to the Benue State Government to review the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law, 2017 to give it a human face.
MACBAN North Central zonal Chairman, Alhaji Danladi Ciroma made this appeal in an interview with newsmen in Makurdi when he was in the state capital to celebrate with ACG Kamilu Ado Isah on his successful retirement from office and 60th birthday anniversary.
He said that some herdsmen were born and brought up in Benue state and had nowhere to go, so the law should be softened.
When asked how he had been working with the Benue state government to ensure peace and stability between his people and the host communities in the state, Alhaji Ciroma said, “sincerely, between us and the state Government, we are on the process. We are on the process in the sense that, all we want to do is about the arrest of our cattle. Severally, it has been happening and we have been negotiating between us since there is a law. You know there is a law, nothing we can do about it. So, we wish the government itself will appreciate that and let the government assist us for this Anti-Open Grazing law.
“These people were born and brought up here, they have nowhere to go. They have been arresting our cows severally over hundred times and anytime they enter Benue, they arrest them sometimes it is at the border areas. ” So, sincerely, we want His Excellency to do something about it. Let them review the law”, MACBAN zonal Chairman appealed.
Ibrahim Galma, MACBAN Secretary, Benue state chapter added his voice in a separate interview with journalists at the same occasion appealing to the state government to give herdsmen soft landing.
“Since the beginning of this year, we have been witnessing a lot of progress in other ways because the mongering issue between the herdsmen and the Benue state government is about the Anti-Open Grazing Law.
“We the leaders of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association have been carrying out sensitization for our people across the localities within the state and even with the Livestock Guards. From time to time, we table our grievances to the state government and they look into it because I could remember, many of our cows have been released successfully and we are pleading with the state government because our part is to plead.
“We are still suffering, our People have been suffering. They don’t have lands here and the procedure to acquire land is very difficult for them. We need more assistance from the state government, assistance in such a way that they can sign advocacy as a state government and also permit us to be able to reach certain areas provided by the state government to establish pivot ranches because up till now, we have not visited any one, if at all the state government has created pivot ranches. We call it exemplary raising, we have not seen it. We want to see it and come to the state government and tell them that we have been able to carry out sensitization step by step for our people because we are suffering. A lot of people have lost their cows, some are in the prison.
“Government should allocate land to us, we are still looking for temporary Areas before the proper establishment because it is not easy. “It is a transformation that needs time technically and financially because many technical issues on Ranching are there”, Galma noted.
When the newsmen told him about an allegation that his people (herdsmen) did not apply for land in Benue state for ranching, the secretary said”, Yes, it is ignorance. “Ignorance and lack of much awareness is with them because there are a lot of speculations. Even we that are their leaders, in another way round they accuse us of collaborating with the state government. What we are telling them sometimes is not enough for them to understand. So, that ignorance is still there and it is automatically causing a lot of issues. That is why we need to be closer to the government for them to acquire land because ordinarily, it is not about me, it is not about the MACBAN Chairman, it is about the people who are less privileged. They don’t have money, they don’t have land.
“Intermediaries from the state are needed, more especially the ministry of Agriculture”, Galma suggested.