The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has welcomed the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari for all encroached grazing routes across the country to be recovered.
The Acting Publicity Secretary of the Association, Adamu Toro, said the encroached grazing routes had been the main cause of the crisis between herders and farmers in the country.
He said most of the grazing routes had been taken over by lawless Nigerians, making it difficult for the herders to move freely along with their animals.
The association noted that though the president’s directive was coming late, it would go a long way to address the present crisis situation in the country.
‘’We thank Mr President for that and we do hope he will take further actions that will drastically reduce the present conflicts in the country,” he said.
Toro also identified the collapse of the local government system as one of the causes of the various crises being witnessed in all parts of the country.
Another herder, Mohammad Ardo, said recovering of some of the encroached grazing routes was important, observing that there was no way herders will move nowadays without encroaching some properties built on some of these routes.
“We should tell ourselves the truth, there is no way open grazing can be completely banned at the moment, it has to be something gradual and before that will happen, we have to manage the situation,” he said.
The factional President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Arc. Kabiru Ibrahim said the directive would make a tremendous impact on the herders/farmers conflicts because animals stray into farmlands that encroached into their routes which made conflicts unavoidable.
“In some areas, buildings have been erected on some of these routes; so if we are able to re-establish the routes, we will definitely minimise the conflicts arising from cattle straying into farms. It is a very good decision but costly,” he said.
A technical adviser to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Saleh Momale, said the recovery of cattle routes in the country would go a long way in modernising the traditional cattle rearing system in the country.
In a phone interview, he said if recovered, the cattle routes and other traditional cattle rearing assets would address the challenges bedevilling herders in the country.
“I do not want to insinuate on who have taken possession of some of these critical production infrastructures because it is only a thorough review of the gazettes and those areas that will reveal those who have substantially encroached on some of these production infrastructures, whether they are federal institutions or like you said communities and even individuals.
“The recovery of some of these stock routes is practically possible because they are still within rural or grazing areas where we have high concentration of the pastoralists, particularly in the northern states.
“It is left for the appropriate agencies of government to pick the gazettes, objectively review them and see to the reacquiring of the areas in accordance with the existing laws in the country,” he said.