• says practice has rendered 134,208 hectares of land in Central Nigeria uncultivable

From Jude Owuamanam, Jos

A human rights group, the International Organization for Peace Building and Social Justice (PSI Nigeria) has asked members of the National Assembly opposed to the ban of the open grazing and the Establishment of National Animal Husbandry and Ranches Commission Bill to support it for the good of the country.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Titus Zan,
representing the Benue West senatorial district, sought to ban open grazing and establish ranches to curb incessant farmer/herder clashes in Nigeria

Addressing newsmen in Jos on Friday, PSJ Programme Manager, Sam Odey, described the bill as a right step in the right direction.

The text of the press briefing read, “We the International Organization for Peace Building and Social Justice (PSJ Nigeria) are advocates of Peace and Social Justice.

We have been following the recent conversations and events at the red
chambers of the National Assembly; and want to openly state that, the Bill to Ban Open Grazing and the Establishment of National Animal Husbandry and Ranches Commission, sponsored by Senator Titus Zan,
representing the Benue West senatorial district in the National Assembly is in the right direction and should be accepted by all citizens.

“This legislative initiative aims to regulate, manage, preserve, and control ranches throughout Nigeria.

“In a nation where cultural and religiouS diversity enriches our society, it is imperative that all communities coexist peacefully. The persistent farmers-herders crisis has not only led to significant loss of life and property but also threatens the very fabric of our unity. The proposed bill offers a sustainable solution that aligns with PSJ Nigeria’s vision of a peaceful Nigeria where all communities thrive together.”

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He said that the initiative would enhance food safety and economic growth, stressing that the benefits of ranching extend beyond resolving conflicts. ranching ensures that cows are reared in controlled environments, producing healthier meat and milk for Nigerian consumers.

“This shift from open grazing to ranching promises to enhance food safety standards across the nation. Furthermore,
the establishment of ranches is poised to stimulate economic growth and create job opportunities for Nigerians, fostering a robust and sustainable agricultural sector.

Odey said that open grazing system has rendered 134,208 hectares of land in central Nigeria region uncultivable, drastically reducing food crop production, adding ban on open grazing would address food security .

“The Senate’s moves to put a ban on open grazing is a commendable step towards alleviating this issue, ensuring that agricultural lands are utilized effectively for food production.

“This move will not only mitigate food shortages but also stabilize the nation’s
economy by bolstering agricultural output.”

PSJ is of the opinion that ban on open grazing would promote national unity and progress, saying that it’s crucial to recognize that opposition to the Bill to Establish the Ban on Open Grazing is tantamount to
opposing the unity.

The human rights advocates therefore called
on the Senate and the Federal Government to support the establishment of ranches in pastoral states of origin, without imposing it on other states or communities who do not have pastoralists as citizens, respects the rights and traditions of all Nigerians while promoting harmony and development.

“Nigerians cannot afford to stand by while the nation descends into chaos due to violent clashes and the displacement of citizens to IDP from open grazing, PSI Nigeria urges all citizens to support this bill, which
represents a pivotal step towards a peaceful, prosperous, and united Nigeria, the group stated”


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