The National Secretary Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association,(MACBAN) Baba Usman on Sunday in Abuja address the press on the ongoing crisis between farmers and herdsmen in some states across the country.
He said the anti-open grazing law will not provide lasting solution to the herdsmen/farmers conflict, blaming the crisis on ‘draconian laws’ enacted by some selected State governments deliberately to chase herdsmen from the states.
He called on the Federal Government to revive the existing grazing reserves across the country instead of establishing cattle colonies. According to him, the the 415 grazing reserves in the country covered about three million hectares of land.
Usman reiterated the long neglect of pastoralists by successive governments and attacks including killing of 732 members in Mambilla Jos, 82 women and children in Numan.
He argued further that the herdsmen have always been at the receiving end of condemnations while engaging in their legal occupation of pastoralism.
Usman, who admitted that the association still battles with ‘misguided and criminally motivated elements’ however emphasised that the fraction do not represent the mainstream of herdsmen.
“The current situation in our opinion is fuelled by the draconian laws put in place by some state governments with singular aim of chasing our people out of the states simply for ethnic hatred.
“The anti-open grazing law which started in Ekiti State before it was replicated in Benue, Taraba and other states is nothing more than a a symbol of intolerance and do not in any way intend to solve the farmers herders conflict as the livestock breeders interest is neither captured in the law nor in its implementation mechanism.
“While as a body, we are not against any law that can engender peace, create societal harmony and stability, we cannot oblige any self-centered regulation with primordial sentiments based on injustice, intolerance and infringement of people’s rights.
“It is no longer hidden that to achieve these, some state governments are sponsoring ethnic militia against our people, recruiting and arming locals to kill our people and rustle their livestock as seen recently in Benue and Taraba,” he said.
In his recommendation, Usman further called for compensation for all victims of the crisis to reduce their pains.
According to him, there was need for a federal judicial commission of enquiry to probe the killings and unravel the truth about those behind the attacks.
“We confirm the position of his royal highness, the Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, that in spite of the fact that 732 of our people were killed in Mambilla and 82 women and children killed in Numan and nobody was arrested. We demand for the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes without further delay.
“We further state that the refutal of the Emir’s position by the Taraba State Governor is merely a continuation of his desperate act of hiding the state government’s involvement and protection of the perpetrators of these acts.
“Pay compensation to the victims of all crises to reduce their level of suffering.”
He added that there should be, “immediate disarmament of all illegally armed militias across the country in the interest of peace, security and stability.