Baba-Othman Ngelzarma, the national president of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, has described how President Muhammadu Buhari let pastoralists down despite their open support and endorsement of his reelection campaign in 2019. He claims that after winning the election, Buhari abandoned them.
Ngelzarma, who briefed journalists in Abuja over the weekend, also charged the federal government with ignoring livestock production in its seven-year distribution of N500 billion for agronomy.
He claims, “We supported Buhari on the eve of the last election that gave him a second term. We demonstrated to the world our support for him, but nothing further has been done since then—as I talk to you now.
“Buhari has neglected the herdsmen. It is abundantly evident that the government has abandoned the pastoralists, whether it is Buhari or one of his lieutenants. Nothing concrete has been done for pastoralists during the previous eight years. Over N500 billion was spent on agronomy, but virtually nothing on cattle.
“Check the budgetary provisions of the federal government as well as the entire state government. You will be shocked by the livestock budget if you look at it. Complete negligence is being shown to livestock.
“How can a multi-trillion Naira company be placed in the care of literate people with no structure? Instead of receiving significant benefits, the government receives nothing. Oil is nearby this. Oil is adjacent to livestock. With extremely effective organization and harnessing, it can support the economy of this nation. The cow doesn’t squander anything. Consider the value chain: “The cow is money from top to bottom.”
Ngelzarma, a former MACBAN secretary who was recently elected president, expressed regret that while the rest of the nation saw MACBAN members as criminals who received special support and protection from the government, they had been the victims of banditry, extortion, farmer-herder conflict, cattle rustling, and kidnapping.
Additionally, he claimed that pastoralists generally no longer felt a sense of belonging in recent years and that many of them were looking to emigrate to safer and more tranquil regions of the world.