*Oyo Assembly holds public hearing
By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
The Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria (GAFDAN) on Wednesday frowned at the planned imposition of ranching on herdsmen by the Oyo state government.
National Chairman of the Association Alhaji Selah Bayari while speaking on behalf of the officials and members of GAFDAN, Oyo state Chapter at the public hearing on Open Rearing and Grazing Regulation bill by Oyo State House of Assembly held at the House of Chiefs, Parliament building , Ibadan disclosed that the planned imposition of ranching on herdsmen in the state may be “absolutely impracticable “
GAFDAN National Chairman in the presentation emphasized that the anti grazing bill “is not practicable because some of the content of the Bill are in direct contravention to the law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which is on the exclusive list of the Federal Government.”, adding ” the bill if passed into law would punish poor herders,
Stressing that “It is impossible in our country for any peasant small scale herdsman or rancher to go into ranching.”, Alhaji Bayari lamented that the sponsors of the bill did not prowl into detailed history of the Fulani herdsman and his cattle rearing culture, tradition and hereditary attachment to his means of livelihood and not ‘business’ as people were made to understand.”
“What they are saying is entirely different from what is on ground that the law is not made in targeting any group or ethnicity, for instance, no state can defined who a citizen of country is and the qualification of a person to be a citizen of Nigeria. We are not supporting illegality, anybody found wanted should be punished according to the law of the land, government should ensure that any person who committed crime are dealt with irrespective of his or her tradition or ethnicity”, he said.
According to him, the bill failed to take into consideration the above set of people involved in the cattle business, unlike commercial merchandise livestock farmers like President Muhammadu Buhari; Chief Olusegun Obasanjo; Vice Admiral Murtala Nyako (retd); Senator Abdullahi Adamu; West Africa Milk Company; and Alhaji Tafida Mafindi, among others,
“How can a herdsman that owns 50 cows or less, afford to lease a plot of ranch to keep and graze, buy feeds for these animals, and that the maximum average total value of of 50 cows at N150, 000 each is N7.5 million only. From our calculations, one cow will eat grass, drink water, drugs and other maintenance costs to the tune of N1, 500 a day.”
He pointed out that “nomadic grazing has been in existence from the time of moses in the bible, Nigeria can live in any part of the country and have means of livelihood, they also have a right of entry and exist, it is not good when a single person commit crime, and as a result of that the government now made law in generality to regionised and ethnisised a crime, this will on the other hand increase a crime.The GAFDAN National Chairman stressed that the association is determined and committed to fishing out bad elements among the herdsmen in Oyo State and that herdsmen in the state are ready to abide by the law of the state government on anti grazing bill.
“We shall continue to be law abiding citizens of this state and hereby undertake to ensure that we fish out all the bad elements among us that are distorting the peace ans tranquility of Oyo state with your help and assistance among other security agencies. In the absence of peace,we are always victims number one in view of the fact that our entire means of livelihood which is animals are perishable .As a result of this,they are very susceptible to the danger of insecurity . That makes us so concerned about security but because today, insecurity and crimes have moved into the bushes and jungles where we live and see as our home, we have become victims of the unfortunate crimes committed by foreigners and other fellow Nigerians by being the inhabitants of such crimes infested environments.”
Alhaji Bayaki added, “despite Benue state being a Northern state, it has been a very bad brother and neighbour of the Fulani herdsmen . Ironically , it is Oyo state ,among other Yoruba states that have been and remained our truly home as Nigerians due to the wonderful warm and receptive nature of the great descendants of Oduduwa that the Fulani herdsmen have come to see and accept as their beloved great grand father too due to accomodating spirit, nature and character of the people of the South West. “
Oyo State Assembly Speaker , Honourable . Debo Ogundoyin in his remark declared that there is a need for peaceful coexistence between the farmers and herders in and across the state as agriculture, crop, and animal husbandry remain major economy in the state.
“There is a need for us to continue to live in peace and harmony, Fulani and the farmers has been living together for long time ago and nobody outsted his/her boundary or herders grazing their cattle in a way that will destroyed farm input”