Despite owning 98% of the cattle in Nigeria, the Fulani people, according to the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), have not received any support from President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
The group said that despite the Fulani owning 98% of the livestock in Nigeria, along with President Buhari, they had not received any support.
The statement was made by Baba Othman Ngelzarma, the president of MACBAN, on Saturday in Abuja at a news conference. He claimed that after backing Buhari in the previous presidential election, MACBAN desired to be supported by his administration.
Ngelzarma asserted that livestock has been neglected completely by the All Progressives Congress government, noting that pastoralists are suffering because people think they are for Buhari, and Buhari is for them because he is Fulani.
He said, “On the eve of the last election that brought in Buhari for the second term, we endorsed him. We showed the world that we were with him but thereafter, up till now as I speak to you, nothing has been done.
“President Buhari has abandoned the pastoralists. This is very clear, whether Buhari or his lieutenants, the pastoralists have been abandoned by the government. In the last eight years, nothing tangible was done for pastoralists. While over N500 billion was spent on agronomy, nothing was spent on livestock, almost nothing.
“Check all the state government’s budgetary provisions including the federal government’s budgetary provisions. If you see what is budgeted for livestock, you will be surprised. Livestock is being neglected completely.
“Livestock is next to oil, it can sustain the economy of this country with very good harnessing and organisation. There’s nothing wasteful on the cow. Imagine the value chain, everything on the cow is money.
“Pastoralists deserve protection and protection as well against cattle rustlers, kidnappers, bandits and so on. So, we are also under threat. Our trade is also under threat, but for somebody because of crime perpetrated by a few among us, to put us in one basket and say all Fulani are criminals is not fair.
“Cattle rearing is a business. We are a trade group doing our legitimate business. MACBAN is not a criminal group.
“We are open to attack by all sorts of thieves. We are at the receiving end of these crises including farmers-herders clashes and cattle rustling because pastoralists are the sole owners of the cattle. 98 per cent of the cattle in this country are owned by the Fulani and they are victims of kidnapping too.”
“There has never been a time when the pastoralists were supported or assisted after losing their means of livelihood. We also need protection from the government,” Ngelzarma added.
Ngelzarma said a recent initiative of the federal government that provides funds for some states to transform the livestock sector is grossly inadequate to solve the challenges faced by the industry.
“Only recently the Buhari administration started implementing the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) where some states have accessed the N3 billion, N6 billion funding. Some states started it; the one in Yola has started but we see it as a project that cannot solve the problem.
“How do you think a livestock centre that can accommodate not more than 20,000 cows can solve the problem of the cows in Adamawa that are over two million? But as a model, it is okay, we appreciate it. At least the pastoralists will see how to modernise animal husbandry,” he said.