Michael Onwuka, Enugu
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), says it is neither a socio-cultural nor tribal organisation.
The South-East Zonal Chairman of MACBAN, Alhaji Gidado Siddiki, disclosed this while briefing newsmen Saturday in Enugu.
Siddiki said that MACBAN was fundamentally a trade group made up of cattle herders across the country.
He said that the clarification had become necessary following misconceptions in parts of the country that the group was in pursuit of ethno-centric political interests.
“This misconception is probably the cause of the unhealthy suspicion on MACBAN and our herders in the field.
“We make bold to state that MACBAN is cattle-business-oriented, devoted to the improvement of the gains and welfare of cattle breeders who belong to our fold,” he said.
The MACBAN zonal chairman, however, said that there were still herders who neither belonged to the association nor any other.
He said that such herders who operate outside the regulation of MACBAN often constituted clogs in the Association’s negotiations with government authorities aimed at ensuring minimal friction between herders and their host communities.
Siddiki, therefore, requested governments of South-East states to statutorily empower the association to regulate cattle business in the zone.
“For some time running now, our herders suffer the most trying moments in their cattle business across Nigeria”, he lamented.
He said that such empowerment would ensure efficient and seamless monitoring of the activities of herders in the zone as well as check the complaints against pastoralists in the area.
“We appeal to state governments in the zone to statutorily empower MACBAN which is, unarguably, the largest and most organised cattle breeder organisation in Nigeria, as the regulator for herders in the zones.
“This will surely make for one channel of control, checks and balances in the operations of herders within the zones,” he said.
Siddiki said that the mutual suspicion between herders and members of their host communities could easily be addressed with the right mindset.
“We sincerely recommend that the uniqueness of Nigeria which is in its diversity of tribes, languages, cultures, religions and trades be strategically harnessed.
“Let every Nigerian be encouraged to freely engage themselves (sic) anywhere in the country, provided that such engagements are legitimate and without let to peaceful coexistence of the peoples of Nigeria,” he said.
Siddiki commended state governments, security agencies as well as the traditional leaders for their sustained interest in maintaining law and order in the zone.
“We wish to thank His Eminence, Alhaji Sa’adu Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto and the Chairman Board of Trustees of MACBAN, for his fatherly counsels.
“We heartily appreciate the support of members of the Board of Trustees of MACBAN.
“We implore our political, religious, traditional and opinion leaders to always work for social peace and economic growth of Nigeria,” he said.
Siddiki said that the leadership of MACBAN in the zone would continue to advise herders on the need to maintain peace in their localities as a precondition for their business to thrive.