The Taraba State chapter of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association on Sunday advanced reasons for the organisation’s decision to challenge the state’s anti-open grazing law in court.
State chairman of the association, Sahabi Tukur, told journalists that they were in court because state government had failed to put in place measures to ensure that the herders have a smooth switch from the age-long tradition of open grazing to a relatively more challenging system of ranching.
According to him, ranching requires commitment of huge sums of money to acquire land and develop infrastructure for the benefit of the animals.
Tukur said they were exploring diplomatic and legal means of ensuring that the grey areas of the law are resolved amicably rather than taking to arms.
“We are already in court challenging the law and we hope to get positive judgement before the January 24th date set aside by the state government for the take-off of the law.
“Nobody wants trouble. We want peace and that is what we are working day and night to have.
“We don’t believe in bloodshed. The situation in Taraba may not be the same with the situation elsewhere; so, if there are threats of bloodbath in other places, that does not apply to Taraba.
“Here, we believe in peaceful resolution of issues. That is why we are challenging this law in court. If we were thinking of bloodletting, we would not be in court.
“The timing of the law is wrong because it fails to carry all the major stakeholders along and the government has also failed to provide some of the basic infrastructure to enable the herdsmen key into the idea of ranching.
“We have less than two weeks to the take-off of the law and not even a single foot of land has been allocated for ranching. So, what do you expect the herdsmen to do?” Tukur queried.
Meanwhile, Taraba State Governor Darius Ishaku has reiterated that no amount of threats and blackmail will stop the implementation of the law.
Speaking through his Senior Special Assistant (Media), Mr. Bala Dan Abu, Ishaku insisted that the law was meant to foster peaceful coexistence between farmers and herdsmen and so it was unnecessary for anyone to try to incite violence.