Cattle Dealers and Rearers Association of Nigeria on Monday in Benin City, the Edo State Capital, said 54,000 cow meat (beef); representing 75 percent of 72, 000 cow that are slaughtered by registered Abattoirs and consumed by residents in Benin City yearly is sourced outside Edo State.
Mr. Sa’ad Ahmed, Chairman of the Association made the disclosure during Edo State Stakeholders Town Hall meeting on the proposed Anti-Open Grazing Law held in Benin City.
Sa’ad who did not give the statistics of beef consumed in other parts of the State, explained that a significant number of the estimated beef that are consumed in Benin City are bought by individuals and groups for marriage Celebrations, burials, Birthdays and other events.
He also revealed that 45 percent of the beef consumed in Benin City is reared in the State while a significant number of the cows that are bred in the State find their way back to the northern part of Nigeria where they are either sold or consumed.
Similarly, the State chairman of Cattle Breeders Association better known as Miyyeti Allah, Alhaji Mohammed Fosal, exonerated indigenous Funali ethnic group who are into Livestock farming from reported killings and being responsible for farmers and herders conflicts in some parts of Edo State.
Fosal who spoke through an interpreter, alleged that indigent Fulani ethnic group in the State are peaceful, but noted that their counterparts from Kogi, Abuja, with criminal tendencies are allegedly responsible for kidnappings, robberies and Cattle rustling.
On his part, Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki who presided over the Town Hall meeting, said he will not be coerced into signing Edo anti – Open Grazing Law without wide consultations with the people, charged Edo people to separate killer herdsmen from the genuine ones.
He also stated that his administration will not want to rely on needless arguments by some individuals who are intolerance of herders to put up a law that would be difficult to implement in the State, hence the need to brainstorm.
Obaseki assured that a Draft copy of the proposed Edo Anti-Grazing Bill would be sent to the State House of Assembly for legislative for consideration before the end of October 2021.
According to Governor, “I don’t want to sign a law and tomorrow it becomes a piece of paper. But separate bandits from genuine ones without sentiments or hate.
Also speaking, Alhaji Abdulfatai Enabulele, the Chief Imam of Benin Central Mosque in Benin City and the State Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Bishop Oriname Oyonnude-Kure, represented by Reverend Oriakhi David, appealed to relevant authorities in the State to carryout registration of nomadic herdsmen and Cattle breeders in the State.
They also called on the traditional rulers and security agencies in the State to be alive to their responsibilities and challenged Livestock owners not to only be concerned about profiteering, but be committed to due diligence in the event of destruction of economic crops by herders.
Hon. Marcus Onobun, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, assured of legislative support, adding that the Town Hall meeting has doused the tension of concerned Citizens of the State.
Representatives of the youths, Civil Society Organizations, the Nigeria Bar Association, Persons Living With Disabilities and other Stakeholders also submitted copies of Memoranda at the meeting.
Bashir Kadiri, retired Permanent Secretary, Edo Sate Ministry of Agriculture, delivered a paper on ‘Edo State Livestock Initiative where he examined the threats, opportunities and challenges that may be associated with the proposed Anti-Open Grazing Law.
The Secretary to Edo State Government, Barrister Osarodion Ogie, a Benin based Civil society activist, Mr. Austin Osakue, attended the programme