The leaders of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) say they have not changed their position on the anti-grazing law passed by the Benue state government.
The law, which was passed in May 2017 and it took effect in November same year, has generated a lot of controversy, with Miyetti Allah describing it as a time bomb.
In April, Samuel Ortom, the state governor, had said the association had finally accepted to adopt cattle ranching as a solution to the clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the state.
“I think that, in Benue, we are winning because Miyetti Allah and MACABAN have accepted that ranching remains the best option to rear cattle,” Ortom had said.
But in a statement by Abdullahi Bodejor, national president of Miyetti Allah, Saleh Alhassan, its secretary; and Garus Gololo, chairman communiqué drafting committee, the group insisted the law is a violation of its fundamental human rights.
The leaders of the group reached this position on Friday after it rose from an emergency meeting in Kaduna state.
They urged urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call Ortom to order, adding that “his actions are a fundamental threat to peaceful coexistence and food security in Nigeria.”
“We condemn the call by some desperate and jobless groups parading the streets of Abuja looking for crumbs from corrupt politicians agitating for the profiling and stigmatisation of Fulani pastoralist in Nigeria,” the statement read.
“We urge the attorney-general to ignore their letter as they are hired agents by a sinking governor.
“We totally reject the repressive and oppressive ‘Anti-open Grazing Law’ as it is fundamentally going against our culture, economic interest and constitutional rights and will deploy all the necessary legal means as enshrined in our constitution to challenge it.”
The group commended the action of its sister organisation which filed a suit to challenge the anti-grazing law.
It also argued that it had the right to move freely in any part of the country.
“Consequently, we affirm our support and solidarity for the legal action taken by the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore Fulani Socio- cultural Association to challenge the negative Benue anti- grazing law at the federal high court, Abuja,” the statement read.
“That pastoralists, like all citizens of Nigeria, have the right to move freely and to reside in any part of the country. They also have a right to own property in any part of the country and enjoy the right of freedom from discrimination like any other citizen of the country.
“We call on the national assembly to live up to their responsibility because the inter-state movement of pastoralists is analogous to inter-state commerce, which is an exclusive preserve of the legislative powers of the National Assembly under item 62 of the Exclusive Legislative List. To this effect, any action taken by a state Assembly is in conflict with above section of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“We are calling on the minister of justice, inspector-general of police (IGP), the senate president, speaker of the house of representatives and our royal fathers to call the Benue state governor to order, as his actions and continuous threat to the leadership of the Fulani pastoralists is a serious threat to peaceful coexistence.
“We appreciates the efforts being put in place by the federal and state governments in addressing the security challenges facing the Fulani pastoralists, particularly cattle rustling, kidnapping and banditry.”