The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) said Monday that it would discourage underage and late night grazing amongst herders, as part of solutions proffered by the group to quell raging conflicts between herdsmen and farmers in the Southwest.
The umbrella body of cattle breeders in the country said in a statement issued Monday evening by its national president Muhammadu Kiruwa that the association had also outlawed underaged grazing forthwith.
Mr. Kiruwa admonished herdsmen to desist from invading the farmlands of other citizens, which he said, was a major instigator of farmer-herder clashes.
MACBAN’s resolutions followed a crucial meeting held in Akure, the Ondo capital city today between leaders of the association and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.
Ondo State governor Rotimi Akeredolu had last week ordered the immediate evacuation of Fulani herdsmen from the state’s forest reserves, linking widespread kidnappings and killings to activities of herders.
The Miyetti Allah chief, however, stated that Mr. Akeredolu’s directive was “misconstrued and misrepresented by a section of the media.”
Mr. Kiruwa reckoned that the Ondo chief executive had only ordered individuals occupying the state’s forests illegally to quit.
“No one had sent anyone away from any state or region but all hands must be on deck to fight criminality,” he said, adding that “criminals should be apprehended and punished, no matter their origin, class or status.”
MACBAN’s directive to herders in the Southwest is not entirely new, as previous admonitions to cattle breeders had been flagrantly defied, leading to escalating unrest between herdsmen and host communities.
Previously, FCT and agric ministers have issued separate directives against cattle grazing around Abuja metro, but the herders have continued to ignore the directive several years on. As of last week, cows were still cited roaming freely in downtown Abuja.
It is, however, expected that concrete agreements with the governors’ forum may yield desired expectations.