Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, has faulted Federal Government’s proposed establishment of cattle colonies, saying it should rather revive the existing grazing reserves across the country.
MACBAN said that the 415 grazing reserves in the country covered about three million hectares of land, adding that the reserves had been neglected by the government over the years hence the reason for the dilapidated infrastructure in them.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja on Sunday, the National Secretary of MACBAN, Alhaji Baba Ngelzarma, said the reserves lacked water, which was 70 per cent need of cattle.
Ngelzarma said, “We accept the fact that there has been a serious encroachment of the reserves by farmers.
“First, let’s identify these grazing reserves. Identify those that are still there, assess the level of encroachment.
“From our tour of the grazing reserves, we discovered that they all have infrastructure in them but because of the neglect on the part of the government, all the infrastructure are dilapidated.
“The dams are still there, the boreholes no longer work, the nomadic schools don’t work, and the veterinary clinics are there but they are not working.
“What can you do with a cattle colony when you have grazing reserves for the pastoralists.
“They (pastoralists) are out of the reserves because there is no water there, environmental factors and neglect.
“Let the federal and state governments which are custodians of the reserves begin to develop the reserves.
“Let them make the reserves attractive for the pastoralists, and they will come back.
“Their major requirement is water. If you can provide water in the reserves, it will make them attractive for pastoralits to come back. Everybody is tired of these crisis.’’