…Says Abuja originally a grazing reserve
The Fulani socio-cultural group, Miyetti-Allah Kautal Hore, has declared that herders will continue to graze their cattle in Southern Nigeria despite the September deadline given by their State governors to begin the implementation of the anti-open grazing law in the region.
The group, which described the anti-open grazing law of the Southern governors as “satanic”, also proclaimed that the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), Abuja, was originally designed to be a grazing reserve before it was turned into the nation’s capital city.
The Secretary General of the group, Alhassan Saleh, who made these declarations on Friday in an interview, said in spite of the Southern governors’ push to outlaw open grazing in the region, the Fulani herders would not leave but would continue to graze their cattle there “peacefully”.
He described the anti-open grazing law being enforced in the region and in Benue State as satanic.
He further advised the herders in the affected states to continue to graze their cattle insofar as they are doing so in the bush and not in the centres of cities or towns.
Asked for his view on the practice of some herders allowing their cattle to stray into the main parts of cities like Abuja, Saleh explained that Abuja was a grazing reserve before it assumed the status of the nation’s capital.
Saleh emphasised the love of the Fulani for cows and described tending to the animals as a heritage bestowed on the ethnic group by God. According to him, “The name of our group, ‘Miyetti-Allah’, means, ‘We thank God for the gift of natural wealth’. “Grazing has never been done in secret since the time of Moses. If you are a good reader of the Bible, manger is where cows graze”.
Saleh accused Nigeria’s leaders of playing politics with grazing of cows. He warned that with the manner leaders were handling the issue of open grazing, the country might go into extinction – unless Nigerians tread softly on the matter. Saleh said many governors are using the issue of herdsmen to drive their politics and steal through the use of security votes.
He described what he called the ugly development in the North-West as a consequence of the destruction of the grazing practice.
He claimed that most of the cattle eating grass in open fields in the southern part of country are owned by Southerners.
Saleh also said what the Southern governors should have done was to create cattle ranches and lease them out to the herders.