Nigeria’s former ambassador to the United Nations, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, has suggested the restoration of the 1965 Grazing Reserve Law as a solution to the herdsmen-farmers conflict unsettling many communities across the country.
Gambari who spoke at a symposium titled ‘Pastoralists and crop farmers’ crisis: A discourse on proactive measures to prevent conflict in Nigeria’, organised by the College of Agriculture, Kwara State University, Malete (KWASU) said that the Law could be revived based on section 315 of the 1999 Constitution in the 19 northern states.
The former UN ambassador noted that out of the estimated 40 million hectares of grazing land in the country, only three million hectares were specifically tagged as grazing reserves.
“The Nigerian livestock industry is largely dependent on natural vegetation. Although there is vast hectares of natural vegetation in the country, they are not maximally utilized due to poor planning and conflicting government policies,” Gambari said.
He therefore called for harmonization of relevant laws and policies that govern grazing reserves.
“Regional instruments governing pastoralism should be protected and above all domesticated. In addition to the laws, consultative process between farming and pastoral communities are required to review the effect of statutes and regulations on routine practices of animal husbandry.” He added
Professor Gambari, who lamented that the idea to encourage nomads to settle was first made in 1942 but was never implemented, recommended that “a clear policy of land grant to pastoralists should be developed and implemented by the state governments,” he said.