Yakubu Busari, Jos
Plateau Youths under the aegis of G17 Peace and Progressive Forum and the state branch of the Miyyeti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigerian, MACBAN, have disagreed sharply over a proposal to the lawmakers for an anti-grazing bill in the state.
The youths who stormed the premises of the House of Assembly carrying placards with various inscriptions, “Ranching is a private business”, Killings must end”, “Support a ban on open grazing In Plateau state”, “We demand a ban on open grazing for a safer & peaceful Plateau state”, urged the lawmakers to expedite action on the passage of the bill for peace to reign in the state
Spokesman of the Youth who also double as the convener,Comrade Dachung Bagos made the presentation at the State House of Assembly Complex on Tuesday in Jos, when the group met the Speaker, Peter Ajang Azi
He called on the lawmakers to fast track the smooth passage of an open grazing bill which would halt the killings and destruction of farmlands in the state.
According to him, “open grazing if banned in the state would reduce the rate of killings and farmers /herders conflict,” adding “If somebody wants to graze he or she should ensure that he or she purchases land for the ranching of animals.”
Bagos explained further that government should not as promised acquire land for grazing but allow cattle owners to buy their own land for grazing or ranching.
“ We would vehemently resist any attempt made by government to acquire hectares of land in any parts of the local governments for the purpose of open grazing and any form of forceful taken over of our parents ancestral farmland for grazing”
Bagos maintained that since the rearing of cows is a family business, the government must be ready to released money or acquire hectares of farmland or fertiliser to the farmers if it chooses to buy land for cattle owners.
“Our appeal to this honourable house is to consider the immediate passage of anti grazing bill on resumption next year by February, 2018 as true representative of people” .
Addressing the youths, the Speaker, Azi assured them of the House readiness to listen to all sides of the story including stakeholders and technocrats.
But Chairman of the state branch of MACBAN, Nura Muhammad Abdullahi urged the Plateau State House of Assembly to shun the agitators and disregard the proposed anti-grazing bill.
Muhammad said ,”It has came to our notice that the Plateau State House of Assembly have received a politically motivated bill, with the name Citizen Bill, seeking for a law banning open grazing in the state, forward by a group known as G17″.
“We swiftly react and view the agitations hankering for the ban of the open grazing in the state, as contained in the said bill, as nothing than trying to incite trouble in the state that is trying as much as possible to consolidate on the attained relative peace being enjoyed for a longer period of time.
“We are also convinced that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which is the supreme law of the land, guarantees freedom of movement and the right of citizens to live in any part of the country of their choice and embark on any legal business of their choice without any let, hindrance, restriction or molestation.
According to him, the bill will also negate all international, regional and sub-regional laws, conventions, charters and treaties which also guaranteed the above rights.
Alh Nuru Muhammad cautioned that as peaceful and law abiding citizens, “we will continue to not only support the peaceful process, harp on the need to live in pace with one another, but are seriously working in ensuring that all live in peace,” adding that “we are against any plan for cattle ranching by the government and as being proposed by the G17, let alone tell us to buy our land to save our cattle. We hope our positions are best understood.”