Wednesday 10 March 2021

Herdsmen Shun FCT Open Grazing Ban, Obstruct Traffic


Herdsmen have continued to move cattle on roads in the Federal Capital Territory in contravention of the ban on open grazing by the Federal Capital Territory Administration.
Some of the pastoralists were seen grazing their animals at the Idu Industrial Estate , Jabi bypass and the Gwarimpa Expressway in defiance of the prohibition of open grazing of animals by the FCTA.

The Director , Abuja Environmental Protection Agency, Dr Hassan Abubakar, had in an interview informed our correspondent that the FCTA would seize any livestock found grazing in the nation ’ s capital, noting that the one- month ultimatum issued to the pastoralists expired in February .
He said over 100 cattle earlier seized were returned after their owners were fined by courts , adding that any herdsman found grazing his animals on Abuja streets would be penalised heavily. 

Hassan stated that a special team had been constituted to enforce the directive, adding that the FCT Minister , Muhammad Bello , had earmarked five locations for RUGA in Abaji , Kwali and Kuje Area Councils.

But checks by PUNCH Metro over several days revealed that the herdsmen were not abiding by the directive as young children were seen leading cattle across major roads and in other places, thereby obstructing vehicular traffic .

When contacted about the recalcitrant pastoralists on Tuesday , Abubakar explained that a large number of cattle, which violated the directive , had been seized and kept at a location in the Garki Area 3 , adding that the AEPB would continue to sanction errant herdsmen.

Asked about the planned establishment of RUGA by the FCTA , the director referred all inquiries to the Agriculture Secretariat.

But the spokesman for the Agriculture Secretariat , Aliyu Zakari, denied that the FCT was building RUGA for herdsmen, adding that there were grazing reserves where the pastoralists were expected to graze their livestock.

It is not true that we are establishing RUGA for herdsmen; what we have are grazing reserves and those are where the herdsmen are expected to graze their animals," he stated.

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