Cattle breeders in Taraba decry zero allocation to livestock in 2017 budget
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Taraba Chapter, on Wednesday expressed concern over the zero allocation of funds to livestock in the 2017 budget of the state.
The Chairman of the association, Alhaji Sahabi Tukur, told newsmen in Jalingo that the zero allocation would undermine animal husbandry in the state.
He said livestock production required urgent government attention in view of its potential in diversifying the economy.
“ It is inconceivable that a state like Taraba with millions of heads of cow will prepare a budget that those not capture expenditure on livestock.
“ It is even worrisome because there is a direct correlation between the budgetary allocation and the sustainable peace that Taraba is begging for, especially now.
“ This is because the allocation would be used in taking care of things like cattle route, cattle drugs and even grazing reserves.
“ Unfortunately, what we are seeing now is encroachment on the grazing reserves that are already gazetted.
“The situation has made the state more prone to farmers and herdsmen clashes,” Tukur said.
He appealed to the state House of Assembly to amend the 2017 budget already before it to capture livestock production for the socioeconomic development of the state.
On the incessant violent clashes involving herdsmen in the state, he said, 18 herdsmen were killed, 76 motorcycles belonging to them were lost and hundreds of cattle were rustled from July to Dec., 2016.
Tukur said all the cases were documented and reported to the Taraba Police Command and its divisional office in Gassol Local Government Area of the state.
He attributed most of the clashes involving herdsmen to cattle rustling and the deliberate killing of the herd for witchcraft or to provoke the herdsmen.
“To a Fulani man, his cattle is his only means of livelihood; that is what he depends on to earn a living and that is also why you see a fulani man living in the bush.
“Our members hardly benefit from government infrastructure, social amenities and, more recently, even budgetary allocations.
“ To a Fulani man, losing his cattle means losing his livelihood which is an irreparable loss.
Tukur, however, said that the association was law abiding and always took punitive measures against its members if found wanting.
“ We have an internal mechanism for disciplinary action against our erring members; sometimes we even demand their arrest by the police.
“But you know in every association, there are bad eggs but you cannot malign the majority of a people because of the offences committed by a few,” Tukur said.