Gidado Siddiki, South East Chairman of the Miyetti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), has rejected the Southern governors’ ban on open grazing in the region.
According to Siddiki, the ban will be ineffective until herders have an alternative to open grazing.
According to the herdsmen’s leader, the government has not provided them with ranching as an alternative means of conducting their business.
“Our position is that we are not opposed to the ban on open grazing, but we do need an alternative,” Siddiki said.
“You know, when someone is doing business and you stop him from doing business, he is given a choice of what to do.
“When you say you’ve banned open grazing, tell us how we should graze our cows because that’s all we know. There is no problem if there is an alternative, and that is all we are asking for.
“The governors should tell us because when you want to enact a law on someone, you have to call him so that you can tell him what he can do, and you and that person will consult before you can do that law.
“Now that they are holding a public hearing on the constitution review and gathering opinions, they should come up with it if they want to ban open grazing so that we can all put our heads together. If open grazing is causing issues, let us find ways to coexist.”
Siddiki inquired, “Is there any provision for that ranching?” after being reminded that ranching had been proposed as an alternative to open grazing.
“If there is a provision for ranching, we can do ranching, but I don’t believe there is. Even in Benue State, which has said it has banned open grazing and will engage in ranching, I don’t believe there has been any ranching in all these years.
“So, I’m not sure if there is a provision, and that is our problem. We were not given the opportunity to attend the Constitutional Review Public Hearing; we went, but no one gave us an audience to speak in front of. We didn’t file a petition.”