The Fulani herdsmen on Wednesday expressed their displeasure over the proposed anti-grazing bill by the Oyo State House of Assembly, saying the bill was a ploy to punish poor herders in the state.
Speaking during the public presentation of views, observation, and grazing regulations bill 2019, held at the House of Chiefs, Agodi, Ibadan, the National Chairman of Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Sale Bayari, in an 18-page position paper delivered at the session, kicked against the bill and its sponsors.
The Fulani leader said the bill if passed into law would punish poor herders, saying, “it is impossible in our country for any peasant small scale herdsman or rancher to go into ranching.”
Bayari said 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.
He queried why 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 (rtd); Senator Abdullahi Adamu; West Africa Milk Company; and Alhaji Tafida Mafindi, among others.
Bayari asked rhetorically how a herdsman that owns 50 cows or less, can afford to lease a plot of ranch to keep and graze, buy feeds for these animals, saying “the maximum average total value 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.”
Bayari further said: “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 Yoruba states that have been and remained our home truly 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 grandfather too due to their accommodating spirit, nature and character of the people of the Southwest.
“We shall continue to be law-abiding citizens of this state and here undertake to ensure that we fish out all the bad elements among us that are distorting the peace and tranquillity of Oyo state.”
The Farmers’ Ambassador, Chief Azeez Maboreje disagreed with Bayari as he lauded the lawmakers for taking the bull by the horn for considering the bill.
Earlier, the speaker of the State Assembly, Mr. Adebo Ogundoyin noted that there was a need for peaceful coexistence between the farmers and herders, adding that agriculture, crop, and animal husbandry remained 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 ousted his/her boundary or herders grazing their cattle in a way that will destroyed farm input.
Ogundoyin stressed that no government would open its eyes and allow its people been killed lawfully, noting that the present administration in the state is committed in ensuring security of life and property of its citizenry.
“Some part of the state particularly Oke-Ogun side are the mostly affected, only in atmosphere of peace that economic development can take place. So, all arm must be on deck to address issue of insecurity in the state.