A Fulani group known as Gan Allah Fulani Development Association of Nigeria, has called on the Oyo State House of Assembly to be considerate with the proposed anti-open grazing law which has passed the first and second reading in the state house of assembly.
The National President of the Association, Alhaji Sale Bayari made the plea on Friday, while addressing newsmen at the Correspondents chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State council in Ibadan.
He advised government to first address the idea of ‘settled grazing’ before full implementation of “zero grazing”.
His words: “We are pleading with the Oyo State House of Assembly to ensure that as interested and affected citizens of the pending law, we deserve to be heard and listened to during the public hearing of the bill so that our views and opinions as Nigerians are heard and considered without bias.”
Noting that the State House Assembly has the constitutional right to make laws to guide everyone in the state including the Fulanis, Bayari urged the lawmakers to put several factors into consideration as they plan to pass the bill.
He pleaded for alternative grazing areas especially for peasant Fulanis who rear cattle just to maintain a means of livelihood, saying most of them rear cattle “as peasant traditional stock owners, not as commercial livestock or cattle business stakeholders.”
He regretted that Fulanis were fingered in most acts of criminalities even without evidence.
“These are allegations that should have been leveled against all criminal elements within our society but unfortunately they are allegations that have been made against an ethnic, religious and a sectional group that have led to the profiling, stigmatisation and harassment of Fulani ethnic group as a whole,” he said.
He said that at a meeting held in Abeokuta on August 3, 2019 with former President Olusegun Obasanjo where Fulani groups from eight states were in attendance, a lot of the problems between herders and farmers were discussed especially the criminality that was attributed to the Fulani ethnic group as a whole.
According to him, “at the end of the meeting, it was all agreed that there is a national problem that needed to be addressed by all well-meaning Nigerians interested in having a prosperous, peaceful and united country”
The Fulani leader noted that like any other tribe , Fulani ethnic group had both the good and the bad, and so the action of one bad Fulani should not be taken against other Fulanis.
The group called on security agencies and other well-meaning Nigerians to cooperate and fish out all criminals in the country and ensure their prosecution to serve as deterrent to others.
“We pledge to continue to work with the security agencies to flush the criminals from our communities and ethnic group, and to ensure that our members are law-abiding and respectful to constituted authorities which may even make the enactment of the anti-open grazing law no longer necessary.”