The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has appealed to the Federal Government to revive the existing grazing reserves across the country instead of establishing cattle colonies.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja on Sunday, the National Secretary of MACBAN, Alhaji Baba Ngelzarma, said that the 415 grazing reserves in the country covered about three million hectares of land.
He noted that the reserves had been neglected by the government over the years hence the reason for the dilapidated infrastructure in them. The national secretary said that the reserves currently lacked water which was 70 per cent need of cattle.
According to him, “we accept the fact that there has been a serious encroachment of the reserves by farmers.
“First, let’s identify these grazing reserves. Identify those that are still there, assess the level of encroachment.
“From our tour of the grazing reserves, we discovered that they all have infrastructure in them but because of the neglect on the part of the government, all the infrastructure are dilapidated.
“The dams are still there, the boreholes no longer work, the nomadic schools don’t work, and the veterinary clinics are there but they are not working.
“What can you do with a cattle colony when you have grazing reserves for the pastoralists.
“They (pastoralists) are out of the reserves because there is no water there, environmental factors and neglect.
“Let the federal and state governments which are custodians of the reserves begin to develop the reserves.
“Let them make the reserves attractive for the pastoralists, and they will come back. “Their major requirement is water. If you can provide water in the reserves, it will make them attractive for pastoralits to come back.
“Everybody is tired of these crises,’’ he said.
Recall that Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, had on Jan. 8, announced government’s plan to establish colonies, to reduce farmers-herdsmen clashes.
Ogbeh had said that 16 states had provided lands for the establishment of the facilities.