Ranching The Cows And Their Herders
Nigeria News takes a look at the advantages of ranches of cattle colonies
The idea of creating the colony for herdsmen is unaccepted by all the regions that made up Nigeria except the north. The Southwest, Southeast, South-south and the middle belt are bent to work against the Federal Government plan of creating colonies for cattle.
On Friday, the Yoruba ethnic group suggested that ranches be built by Federal Government for cattle breeders instead of the colonies. The Igbos are never ready to offer their lands as colonies for cattle.
However, the Federal Government is not ready to bend its plan, which of course may result in hostility between the host community and the nomadic cattle rearers in the nearest future.
The Meyatti Allah, the umbrella body of the herdsmen said that nobody could wake up and change the culture of the herders overnight. It is the herders’ culture to traverse boundaries and invade farms in search of grazing space for their cattle.
To them, the nomadic life must not change and any anti-grazing law made by any state government will not only regulate their activities but would affect their culture.
I think culture is dynamic and could change especially when one finds himself in a foreign land that does not embrace one’s ways of doing things.
Herdsmen in Nigeria are mostly Fulani with their ancestral land in the north but they graze their cattle towards the south due to the green vegetation. They roam the bush, destroy farmland and crops. They carry guns while on the journey to graze their cattle.
They kill, raze down communities and take it over as their inheritance just because they believe it is within their culture to do so. This is what some state governments detest.
The governments came up with laws but rather for the herders to comply, they brought out their swords and guns and waged war against their host communities in the guise of protecting their cattle and culture.
But if the rejection of the anti-grazing law is to keep the herder’s culture, why did Meyatti Allah agree with the creation of colonies. Will cattle colony not affect the nomadic culture of the herders? Will it put a permanent stop to hostility, bearing in mind that the colony belongs to the original settlers of the land?
These are the questions the proponents of the colony have failed to answer, which of course the Yoruba, Igbo and other minority groups of the south and middle belt know will pose a fresh danger to the peaceful co-existence with the herdsmen.
The 21st-century pastoral farming is done in the ranch where cattle are bred for trade and game. Ranches limit the dangerous movements of the cows and the herdsmen. It will stop the invasion of farmland and eventual destruction of crops.
Ranches as a modern form of cattle rearing will stop cows from roaming the major roads of Nigeria in broad daylight. It will keep the cows away from public buildings such as schools and hospitals.
Nigerian students will be at peace in schools because no cow will stray into their classrooms. This is what ranches provide. That is why it has become the best pastoral practice in the developed world.
It is time for Nigeria herdsmen to embrace ranches over colonies.