FULANI herdsmen’s body the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (Macban) has warned that the price of a cow could skyrocket to as much as N2m in Lagos State if the government goes ahead with the passing of an anti-grazing bill.
In May this year, the Southern Governors Forum met in the Delta State capital Asaba where among other things, the governors of the 17 states that make up the south of Nigeria agreed to ban open grazing. Since then, state houses of assembly have stepped up the passing of legislation making open grazing illegal and several states have even begun prosecuting defaulters.
Aware of the fact that these changes appear to be irreversible, Meikudi Usman, the Macban zonal secretary in the southwest, agreed that there were some criminals among the herders, but argued that ranching could increase the price of a cow to as much as N2m. Speaking during a one-day public hearing organised by the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr Usman pointed out that it is much more cheaper to rear cows openly than keeping them at one location as is done with ranching.
He also pleaded with Governor Babajide Sanwoolu’s administration to subsidise the cost of raising cattle in one location. On Monday, the anti-grazing bill was sent to the committee on agriculture after it scaled its second reading at the Lagos State House of Assembly and once the public hearing ends , a final vote will be held, after which Governor Sanwoolu will sign the bill into law.
Mr Usman said: “If cattle are bred in one place, the price could go up to about N2m each. We agreed with some local chiefs in other states that anyone who wants to rear cows in a location should register and should indicate when he is leaving.
“We have met with stakeholders in Ekiti, Ondo and even Oyo states and we reached agreements with them.” His comments follow those of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore secretary Saleh Alhassan, who urged the National Assembly to stop the enactment of the open-grazing laws by the southern governors.