The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, has advised Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, to create an inclusive law that would accommodate the interest of pastoralists in host communities in the South-West states.
MACBAN Secretary General, Usman Baba-Ngelzerma, gave the advice when he featured on Arise TV’s ‘The Morning Show’ programme.
Baba-Ngelzerma who emphasized that laws are supposed to bring harmony and understanding in a community and not to further divide the people, said pastoralists were not invited to public hearings before some states in the Southern part of the country passed their respective anti-open grazing laws.
Recall that the 17 Southern governors led by Akeredolu met in Lagos on July 5, 2021, and “set a timeline of Wednesday, 1st September, 2021 for the promulgation of the anti open grazing law in all member states”.
Akeredolu had on August 31, 2021, signed into law, the Anti-Grazing Bill passed by the State House of Assembly.
Commenting on the move by Akeredolu and his colleagues banning open grazing, Baba-Ngelzerma said, “We (Miyetti Allah) are civilised people and we know that the responsibility of making laws lies in the state House of Assemblies and we know that once a law is made by the state House of Assemblies and assented to by the Governors, that becomes a law, whether we like it or not, whether good or bad.
“But there are processes to be followed in making laws, those processes are: get all the stakeholders through public hearing, hear them, know how the law is going to solve their problem but has this been doing in making the Anti-Open Grazing Law? It has never been done.
“In most of the states, none of our members have been invited for public hearing and make inputs to the law and this law is done to affect us 100%, to affect our members 100%.
“We are part of the critical stakeholders that are supposed to be invited to hear our views and protect our positions and that of the government of the states where we exist.
“In Ondo and most of the Southern states, we have indigenous pastoralists whose fathers were brought up in those states and those who are there today were also brought up there. So, if you ask them to go, they won’t know where to go because they know these states as their own states.
“These are indigenous pastoralists who are born and brought up there whose interests and lives are supposed to be protected by the law but when you make a law without getting them to come and put in their input, this law becomes lopsided and what is the purpose of making the law then?
“A law is supposed to bring harmony and understanding in a particular place but where you make a law that does not bring harmony and understanding amongst the groups in a particular area, that law has not been done in a way to fulfill the purpose with which it is being promulgated.”