OPPOSITIONS TO ANTI OPEN GRAZING LAW : THE POINT MEYATTI ALLAH ARE MISSING- by TOR, L. G.
The herdsmen like every other Nigerian have freedom of movement, freedom to do business anywhere in Nigeria and freedom against any form of discrimination. These are the arguments they continue to push against laws enacted in States against open grazing. These facts are true but highly twisted and not absolute in anyway. Let’s look at each of these rights and freedom:
FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT: This freedom has not been restricted on any herdsman. Movement of livestock on foot is however restricted to forestall clashes between farmers and herdsmen. The State Governments have the authority to restrict movement even of individuals if such would breach peaceful Coexistence. This is why curfew can be impose to protect life and property from time to time.
FREEDOM TO DO BUSINESS: The herdsmen like every other Nigerian have this right so long as such business is accepted by the State granting license, does not breach the right of others and is carried out in a manner that guarantee peace. The law on doing business can be regulated by the States issuing the license from time to time. The business of open grazing and it’s regulation is the exclusive right of the State and the FG being called upon by Meyatti Allah group has no power to stop it. What Meyatti Allah oath to have done is negotiate how their members business can be done peacefully in those states to ensure others rights are not infringed upon.
FREEDOM AGAINST DISCRIMINATION : Herdsmen cannot be stopped from keeping livestock as their way of life but their activities can rather be regulated which is exactly what these States did. They have been offered opportunities to herders to acquire or rent lands to do their business peacefully and the law went ahead to offer them protection in event someone attacks their business within the ranches. Their products are being still purchased and consumed in high volumes including their milk and meat. The discrimination raised by Meyatti Allah does not exist in those States and is mischievous.
No business can survive in an atmosphere of hostility and these States should be commended for proffering solution to the insecurities which the FG failed to provide to herdsmen and residents of those States through hijack of herding business by criminals. Ranching is sustainable in Nigeria if the herdsmen demand for lands in the right locations and certain infrastructures. The Meyatti Allah group should equally lobby these States to sponsor breeds improvement programs for livestock to ensure their the new ranching method is economically viable and the animals do well in confinement. Rather than see the law in negative form the Meyatti Allah should partner those States to ensure their members get the best from the law as law abiding and tax paying residents of those States. Crop farming gives us food while livestock rearing gives us meat hence no State will ever want to kill any or those practicing it. Peaceful coexistence however must be pursued for both businesses to strive and since livestock are most destructive among the two Agribusiness, it is the Meyatti Allah who should be in the fore front of proffering ways their businesses can be done to ensure no destruction of crops grown by farmers. I offer structural -functunalism theory to Meyatti Allah and crop farmers as a fundation we can build on for peaceful coexistence between the two groups of Agribusiness practitioners. I look forward to an opportunity to test this theory and build confidence between these two groups of farmers. God bless Nigeria.