Baba Ngelzarma Claims Buhari Has Failed To Address Herders’ Problems

In an interview with The Punch, Baba Ngelzarma, the National President of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), discusses endorsing a presidential candidate for the 2023 elections, ranching, and how the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to meet their needs.

Recall that in 2019, Baba Ngelzarma hit out at Buhari’s administration for neglecting herders in the country, and when asked about what his statement really meant, the herders’ President said: “None of the ideals of the pastoralists has been addressed by this administration. Our grazing reserves are there without development. They lack water and grass.

“Even the ranching concept that was introduced under the Livestock Transformation Plan is not one that will solve the problem.

“We need a model that can suit the peculiarities of the pastoralists that we have. This is because we have a pastoralist society that is not educated. Education has not been given to them. We need a new model.

“These pastoralists are doing cattle business as a business and as a way of life, and most of them are small-holder farmers who have not more than 20 or 30 cows in their herds. This is their only source of livelihood.

“How do you expect these guys to buy land, and put water and other amenities there? We need a simpler model that can suit their peculiarities. We need models like developing grazing reserves, which are areas that have been designated for grazing by pastoralists.

“Some have infrastructures, such as dams, veterinary clinics, and others, in them. But because of the neglect, the structures have been allowed to dilapidate. Even the palatable grass eaten by the cows is no longer there in the reserves.

“We need a model that will make these reserves attractive to these herders. It is when it becomes attractive to these herders that we can begin to educate them so they can understand the advantages of this modernized animal husbandry, which is better than the primitive system they have been practising for years now.

“They need to be educated on it before they can embrace it.”

Baba Ngelzarma also spoke about the association’s meetings with the forerunners in the upcoming 2023 Presidential elections, saying: “We have presented our demands to the presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu; the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar; the Labour Party, Peter Obi; and the New Nigeria Peoples Party, Rabiu Kwanwaso, and we are awaiting their responses.

“We are waiting for them to give us an appointment to tell us how they have included the lives of the Nigerian pastoralists in their manifestos.”

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