Friday, 02 June, 2023


Fulani lobby Miyetti Allah pushes against grazing laws, threaten court action

Law against open grazing satanic, Herdsmen lobby says

Fulani advocacy organisation Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore (MAKH) has threatened court action against state governors, particularly southern governors, who have enacted laws against open grazing.

The Fulani pastoralists’ lobby described as ‘satanic’ state laws against open grazing, calling them a ploy to cripple the economic activities of the pastoralists, a violation of the 1999 constitution and a threat to national security, informing the group’s decision to approach local and international courts to seek redress.

The organisation said its lawyers have been put on notice about the development and would institute legal action as soon as possible against the states in question.

It predicted that the implementation of the laws will not succeed, saying they are against the culture of Fulani pastoralists, their economic interests and constitutional rights.

The organisation suggested an urgent review of the Land Use Act to accommodate the interest of all land resource users, particularly pastoralists, stating that ranching as suggested by many as a solution requires massive capital investments and is difficult to sustain.

MAKH National President Alhaji Bello Bodejo, who addressed a press conference in Abuja on Monday, expressed concerns that Fulani pastoralists have become endangered in Nigeria due to ethnic profiling that has resulted in violence by local communities.

He called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to stop the implementation of the anti-open grazing laws in the states, particularly in the south, saying it hasn’t and will not solve the herder-farmer crisis.

‘Benue State is a good example. Has there been peace in Benue State since the enactment and implementation of the law in the state? The state governor, Samuel Ortom, only succeeded in turning his people against Fulani pastoralists and also using state-sponsored militia groups to unleash terror on our people. We advise him to withdraw the law and tender an unreserved apology to our people,’ Alhaji Badejo stated.

The MAKH President, who spoke through the Secretary of the Association, Saleh Alhassan, insisted that the anti-open grazing laws and policies are populist and corruption-driven agendas designed to destroy pastoralists means of livelihood.

‘We want the National Assembly and Mr President to intervene and stop current attempt by some states governors to criminalise our means of economic livelihood of cattle rearing through the enactment of satanic and obnoxious laws targeted at Fulani pastoralists,’ he said.

‘The Federal Government should, rather, create a Federal Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries as obtainable in many African countries. They should take inventory of all existing grazing reserves, traditional grazing areas, major stock routes and fully develop at least one grazing reserve in each senatorial zone in line with the recommendation of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Livestock Development in Nigeria 2015, the report of the Presidential Committee on Pastoralists and Insecurity 2014 and the National Livestock Transformation Programme.’

He stated that the anti-open grazing laws did not take into account the sociological, economic, production systems, climate variations and other push factors that are inherent in pastoralists’ movements across ecological zones.

‘It’s important to note that inter-state movement of pastoralists is analogous to inter-state commerce, which is an exclusive preserve of the legislative powers of the National Assembly under item 62 of the Exclusive Legislative List. So, any action taken by any state assembly that is in conflict with the above section of the 1999 constitution as amended is null and void,’ he said.

Miyetti Allah stated that the laws would destroy livestock production and send into poverty millions of people that depend on the livestock value chain, notably butchers, transporters, livestock dealers and consumers who are used to affordable sources of livestock products.

‘The laws would also undermine the relative peace and stability currently enjoyed by the local communities and threaten the social order. Additionally, it will exacerbate cattle rustling in the local communities as criminal gangs and state-sponsored vigilantes would use the opportunity to institutionalise their nefarious activities of cattle rustling.

‘It would lead to serious humanitarian crisis as families would be destabilised and markets and economic livelihoods would be disrupted and the laws would lead to massive cross-border migrations that would create further security challenges.’

The pastoralists’ spokesman demanded a resuscitation and passing of the Grazing Reserves Commission Bill and other livestock management bills that were initiated by the previous National Assembly sessions and introduce livestock tracking using GPS technology and support community-based conflict resolution mechanisms.

Credit: Sun Newspapers


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