Northern Elders Forum Calls for National Pastoralist Commission

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has urged the Federal Government to establish a National Pastoralist Commission to safeguard the interests of Nigerian herdsmen.
This call comes amidst the ongoing debate over proposed legislation to phase out open grazing and establish ranching agencies, which has generated mixed reactions nationwide.
In a statement by NEF’s Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, the forum argued for special initiatives to address herders’ concerns, similar to agencies like NDDC and OMPADEC, which tackle challenges in specific Southern communities. NEF emphasized the need for special funds and policies to improve pastoral livelihoods.
“The NEF recognizes the importance of addressing open grazing challenges and transitioning to sustainable livestock management. We acknowledge northern senators’ concerns about the proposed law’s impact on pastoralists’ livelihoods,” the statement read.
NEF advocates for meaningful dialogue to find a balanced solution that supports pastoral communities and addresses environmental and security issues. The forum called for a collaborative approach in the National Assembly to consider all stakeholders’ perspectives.
NEF proposed a National Policy on Grazing and Livestock Development (NPGLD) and urged Federal and State Governments to identify suitable lands for grazing reserves and cattle routes, using the Land Use Act if necessary.
Additionally, NEF called for a Special Intervention Initiative through the CBN and relevant ministries to support livestock development and establish special funds for pastoral communities, akin to the Anchor Borrowers Programme.
“Establishing a National Pastoralist Commission is essential to address herders’ needs, akin to structures like OMPADEC, NDDC, and the Ministry of Niger Delta for Southern communities. Such initiatives are crucial for lasting peace and stability,” NEF concluded.
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