From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
National President, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, MACBAN, Muhammad Kirowa has blamed northern governors for farmers and herdsmen clashes by turning blind eyes on revamping grazing routes in their domain.
Kirowa who passed the blame yesterday in Makurdi, during a stakeholders meeting convened by Governor Samuel Ortom held at Government House, noted that there are over 415 grazing reserves spread across the north, frowning that they have been abandoned and allowed to waste away.
“I passionately appeal to the governor to discuss with his fellow northern governors on the need to revive these grazing reserves by making them attractive as well as sensitize the herdsmen on economic benefits of ranching. If this is not done, then the crisis between farmers and herdsmen will continue”, he said.
President of the Breeders Association also, commended the governor for signing the law which he noted is meant to seek ways of halting the incessant crisis between herdsmen and farmers.
“We have realized and it is abundantly clearly that the law intends to stop the recurring conflict between farmers and herdsmen. So, we embrace it because it seeks to promote peace between the two (2) ethnic groups. We want to sit with government to fashion out ways of implementing the law but we want to ask if there are adequate lands for herdsmen to ranch their cows in the State. Ranching is inevitable now especially in the face of increasing population which has made law scarce and unavailable,” Kirowa said.
Governor Samuel Ortom said the meeting was convened following complaints by leaders of the herdsmen that they were not carried along in implementation of the new law.
He re-emphasized that the law is not aimed at chasing the herdsmen away, adding that government is prepared to lease land to those who are willing to graze their cows.
He, however, noted that the issue of time is a big challenge to him, maintaining that there is no going back on the November 1st, 2017 deadline for implementation of the law.
“The law will have human face and where there are issues, they will be addressed well that is why the government has set up committee at the local government area. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture has decided to set up pilot ranches in some parts of the country Benue inclusive,” Ortom explained.