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Herders need education, grazing ban no solution to insecurity – NATBO

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Herders need education, grazing ban no solution to insecurity – NATBO

By Ifeanyi Nwoko

The recent ban on open grazing in some states in Nigeria has been described as not the solution to insecurity and an unfair label for a group of legitimate businessmen.

The No Alternative to Buhari and Osinbajo 2019 (NATBO 2019), in a statement released Sunday in Abuja, said pastoralists should be educated and tolerated.

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NATBO national coordinator Vincent Uba said shepherds have so far not been known to carry arms, stressing that recent reports linking them to crime remain unverified.

“Since there might be bad eggs or criminals among the shepherds who commit these crimes, it is relevant to note that criminal tendencies also exist in other professions or occupations.

“So it would be unfair to label all the shepherds as criminals. This is by no means an attempt to excuse the crime, ”he said.

The state of Taraba signals the integrated vaccination campaign against yellow fever, measles and meningitis

He stressed that crimes and criminals should be punished, adding that he does not subscribe to the unwanted elements invading and destroying crops in farmlands, let alone the acts of rape against women and the killing of farmers.

He rebuked, however, the allegation in some quarters that the shepherds were agents of Nigeria’s “fulanization”, questioning why the nation had not been “fulanized” during all the years of their operation.

Uba pointed out that the ploy to portray animal husbandry as the exclusive preservation of Fulani Muslims was misleading, adding that every Nigerian has the right to raise cattle.

The state of Taraba signals the integrated vaccination campaign against yellow fever, measles and meningitis

“Yes, all of us who claim to be the descendants or lineage of Abraham, David, Jacob and Amos in the Bible are invariably descendants of Norman herders.

“People paint an ethnic picture of open grazing and herding, stoking the embers of ethnic warfare. These people mistakenly suggest that the Northerners (Hausa-Fulani) are the only shepherds in the country, while the Southerners are not.

“It is as misleading as it is wrong. The truth is that some northerners as well as some southerners engage in nomadic herding, with northerners in the majority, ”he said.

The state of Taraba signals the integrated vaccination campaign against yellow fever, measles and meningitis

He also flayed the action of some Christian religious leaders who make rude comments against the shepherds when they preach, urging them to preach tolerance, unity and love between different ethnic and religious groups.

“Hiding under the guise of ‘Islamization’ to condemn open-air grazing is not only the most hypocritical, but not Christic either.

“To the governors of the South and others who have banned open grazing, we urge you to put on gently. Banning a system as old as Nigeria itself will inevitably have rebound effects.

The state of Taraba signals the integrated vaccination campaign against yellow fever, measles and meningitis

“It will certainly generate more crises and insecurity than we wish to avoid. Legislating against open grazing without first providing other means of animal husbandry is likely to fuel more crises and heat up the political system.

“The much talked about ranching is undoubtedly the way forward, with due regard to the fact that many of these nomadic herders are illiterate. It is essential to educate them on the need for a new approach to the way they do business, ”he said.

Uba therefore advised the governors and leaders of the South to show understanding and patience with the pastoralists until their challenges are met as well.

The state of Taraba signals the integrated vaccination campaign against yellow fever, measles and meningitis

Source: NAN

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