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Herdsmen are Nigerians, deserve govt’s protection – MACBAN

The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) says herders are bona fide citizens of the country and should be protected and cared for by the government.

The association also urged northern governors to provide water, grasses, and basic social amenities for the “400 grazing reserves.”

Othman Ngelzarma, the National Secretary of MACBAN, said on Thursday in Abuja.

He added that providing these would serve as an interim measure against herder-farmer violent conflict, pending the establishment of ranches across the country.

According to Mr Ngelzarma, the designated grazing reserves covered an area of about five million hectares in the region.

The MACBAN scribe said the North must not ignore the southern governors’ ban on open grazing.

He called on northern governors to open discussion with their southern counterparts on the policy to solve the security and socioeconomic issues around open grazing.

Mr Ngelzarma also appealed to the federal government to assist northern 19 states in establishing ranches.

“We are never opposed to settlement of pastoralists throughout the country. To achieve this, there has to be a model of settlement for the pastoralists to see and emulate because there was no any attempt by past administrations to modernise animal husbandry in the country,” he stated

He added, “The pastoralists are also bona fide citizens whose rights and privileges deserve protection.

“As a solution, the northern governors must open discussion with their southern counterparts on the matter in order to come up with an acceptable position for both farmers and herders in their respective states.”

However, the MACBAN general secretary urged the southern governors to consider the plights of the pastoralists for the sake of peace and unity of the country.

He pointed out that some of the herders were born and brought up in the southern states against open grazing.

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