The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of dumping them after winning the 2019 presidential election.
Baba-Othman Ngelzarma, the association’s national president, made the allegation during a press conference on Sunday.
Ngelzarma narrated how Buhari disappointed the pastoralists despite their open endorsement and support for his reelection bid in 2019.
He claimed that the president abandoned them after winning the polls.
Briefing journalists in Abuja at the weekend, MACBAN accused the federal government of neglecting livestock production in the disbursement of N500 billion spent on agronomy by the government in the past seven years.
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 are with him but thereafter, up till now as I speak to you, nothing has been done.
“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.
“Go and 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.
“How can a multi-trillion naira business be left in the hands of the literate without any form of organisation? The government is getting nothing instead of benefiting a lot. This is next to oil. Livestock is next to oil. It can sustain the economy of this country with very good harnessing and organization. There’s nothing wasteful on the cow. Imagine the value chain – everything on the cow is money.”
Ngelzarma, a former secretary of MACBAN who was recently elected president, regretted that while the rest of the country perceived MACBAN members as criminals who enjoyed special support and protection from the government, they have been at the receiving end of extortion, kidnapping, farmer-herder conflict, cattle rustling and banditry.
He also said that there has been a general loss of sense of belonging among the pastoralists in recent times; adding that many of them were seeking to leave the country for more peaceful and saner climes.