The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has urged the Federal Government to establish a National Pastoralist Commission to safeguard the interests of Nigerian herdsmen,Daily Trust reports.

This call was made during discussions on the proposed legislation to phase out open grazing and create ranching agencies, a topic that has sparked divergent opinions among stakeholders nationwide.

In a statement by its Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, the NEF argued for the introduction of special initiatives to address the challenges faced by herders. They pointed out that previous governments have created agencies, ministries, and programs, such as NDDC and OMPADEC, to tackle issues affecting specific communities in the South.

The NEF further recommended that the government establish special funds and policies to support pastoral communities and improve their livelihoods.

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The statement emphasized the need to address the challenges of open grazing and transition to a more sustainable livestock management system. It acknowledged concerns from northern senators about the proposed law’s impact on pastoralists’ livelihoods and called for meaningful dialogue to find a balanced solution.

The NEF advocated for developing policies and programs to support the shift from open grazing to ranching, ensuring the well-being of pastoral communities while addressing environmental and security issues.

Given the disagreements in the National Assembly, the NEF called for a collaborative decision-making approach that considers all stakeholders’ diverse perspectives. They also recommended identifying suitable lands for grazing reserves and cattle routes, using the Land Use Act and other related laws if necessary.

The NEF proposed a National Policy on Grazing and Livestock Development (NPGLD) to meet pastoral communities’ needs nationwide. They also called for a Special Intervention Initiative through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and relevant ministries to support livestock development policies and establish special funds for pastoral communities, similar to the Anchor Borrowers Programme and other federal interventions.

Finally, the NEF reiterated the need for a National Pastoralist Commission (NPC) to address all matters affecting the well-being and interests of citizens dependent on livestock rearing. They highlighted that creating special initiatives for herdsmen is justified, as previous governments have done for other communities in the South, to achieve lasting peace and stability.


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