Mixed reactions have since trailed the ban on night grazing by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), while some experts in farmers and herders issues have applauded the ban, others say the decision by the association is illegal, an aberration and an evidence of deteriorating governance in Nigeria.
MACBAN, had on January 8 during its annual meeting in Yobe State, North East Nigeria, announced a nationwide ban on night grazing as a measure to curb clashes between farmers and herders.
But a member of the Forum of Farmers and Herders’ Relation Nigeria (FFARN), Dr. Saleh Momale, said MACBAN does not have the constitutional power to take such a decision, but Promulgating a ban is the exclusive responsibility of government
Momale who is also a Permanent Commissioner, Kaduna State Peace Commission, said the best MACBAN can do is to issue an advisory to its members, enlighten them on the ills and dangers of the practice and lobby authorities to ban the practice and not usurping powers of constitutional authority.
He said: “Overall, am very sad indeed with this news. Its a clear reflection of how deteriorated we have become in terms of governance. How can an association issue this type of order! Are they a government or an authority? Promulgating a ban is the exclusive responsibility of government. So I see nothing to commend here, rather something that is an aberration
“The best MACBAN can do is to issue an advisory to its members, enlighten them on the ills and dangers of the practice and lobby authorities to ban the practice.”
“Today, non state actors are usurping powers of authority and when we think it matches our mind-sets, we applause them. Next, they will do the exact opposite and we condemn them.
“Government has allowed non state actors to make callous statements and even assume powers they do not have. Truly, other than a functional government, an advocacy association cannot issue a ban irrespective of how good it is,” he added.
The Executive Secretary and Facilitator, Pastoral Resolve (PARE), called on governments to wake up and take the responsibilities of leadership more seriously.
He further noted that the issue of night grazing was only a practice that was hijacked by criminal elements to steal cattle and has never been a strategy for feeding or managing livestock throughout not only Nigeria or Africa, but the World over, but said the issue has been sensationalised.
Also speaking, another expert in FFARN, Toyin Falade, blamed the “unconstitutional ban” on state actor’s failure. She noted that in recent times on the Farmer-Herder Conflict the state actor’s have indirectly given room to non-state actors usurping their roles.
“At the height of the this Conflict governments have put MACBAN at the fore-front in all negotiations. If their ban can do some magic that government cannot do, let us watch. Same group has made negative pronouncement that has kind of fuelled the Conflict”, Falade said.
Similarly, the National Conflict Analyst, Search for Common Ground (SFCG), Abuja, Mr. Chrisantus Lapang, described the decision by MACBAN as questionable.
According to Lapang, MACBAN banning night grazing makes it look like it had approved of it before it was being practiced. Otherwise, issuing a ban when you don’t have the power to enforce the ban is questionable”.
However, other experts of FFARN who commended the ban tasked Miyetti Allah on compliance.