Yoruba resident in the United States have warned against what they perceive as the grave implications of the Grazing Reserve Bill before the National Assembly becoming law for the country.
Rather than coming up with such enactment, they said the stakeholders in the Nigerian project should concern themselves with how to ensure herdsmen adopted best standards in cattle ranching as obtained in other parts of the world.
In a statement by the president of Egbe Omo Yoruba of North America (National Association of Yoruba Descendants in North America), Chief Bolu Omodele, the compatriots condemned the increasing violent attacks and destruction of lives and properties by suspected Fulani herdsmen in parts of the country.
“We believe that passing any grazing bill will be nothing short of a cosmetic and futile attempt to disguise the real problems while continuing to perpetuate the ignorance of the mostly uneducated herdsmen. It will be a case of putting lipstick on a pig.
“We believe that our country should make a move towards worldwide best practices in cattle ranching. The modern day, common sense approach of establishing cattle ranches nationwide will improve the livelihood of the herdsmen, combat environmental degradation such as soil erosion caused by overgrazing and will forever bring an end to the growing clashes between the herdsmen and indigenous farmers,” he stated.
While advising the Federal Government to provide seed funding for the herdsmen to establish ranches in a programme to be monitored by the state governments as a part of the cattle ranching initiative, they noted that the current havoc herdsmen wreak on locals posed a serious threat to national stability.
However, the compatriots urged Yoruba leaders to encourage Yoruba men and women to invest in modernised cattle farming to help secure the food basket of the Yoruba and the country at large.
Part of the statement read: “We observe the deception of some of Nigeria’s lawmakers to institute an unpopular and an anti-people bill while pretending to be solving the problem. We also note the angst of the Nigerian people towards the so-called Grazing Reserve Bill which has been adversely described as deceitful, self-serving and discriminatory.
“The preponderance of opinion among Nigerians is that any bill addressing the issue of incessant attacks on farmlands by the herdsmen now or in the future should be debated in the full light of day with the full participation of all stakeholders.
“But, what we hear most Nigerians saying is that they do not want any grazing bill. We therefore call on the Nigerian Congress to focus its attention on mandating cattle ranching rather than centering attention on the archaic practice of transhumance which is fraught with inherent conflicts.”