It has always worried residents of the Federal Capital City in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) why cattle freely roam the streets of the nation’s capital with reckless abandon.
They have even also been spotted grazing in the military bases, smack across the presidential residence; at other times blocking traffic as their herders struggle to keep them in check.
But now, just as the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, warned trouble makers to keep off the precincts of the Eagle Square during Monday’s planned inauguration of President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu Tinubu and his deputy, Senator Kashim Shettima, the authorities of the nation’s seat of power have warned cattle breeders to steer clear off the city centre on inauguration day.
As part of a larger effort to keep the animals away from Abuja as a whole, the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) has read the riot act to members of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN).
Photo: Federal Capital Territory or Federal Cattle Territory?
The Director of AEPB, Engr. Osi Braimah, gave his directive on cattle movement in the city in an emergency meeting with the Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, FCT Branch, last Tuesday.
The Director noted that the meeting was convened to rub minds with leaders of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, FCT Chapter, whom he described as partners, on finding a lasting solution to the intractable problem of cattle grazing in the Territory.
His words: “As we all know that cattle grazing in the Federal Capital City ( FCC), is against the law, and in a bid to resolve the problem, quarterly meetings are held to address the knotty matter. it is more pressing now, because in about a week’s time, the world’s attention will be focused on Nigeria, particularly on Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, the venue of the inauguration of Nigeria’s President-elect, which will host over 47
Presidents and heads of government and other important dignitaries across the globe, hence the need to keep the city very clean and to ensure that no cow is seen grazing in the FCC and its environs.”
“We have so far had a very encouraging resolution and gotten the assurances of both the Chairman of the FCT Chapter and the Chairman of AMAC Branch of the Association. It is agreed that it is indeed unsightly to behold cows walking side by side humans in a modern city like Abuja. It is imperative to, therefore, meet immediately with herders in their Association across the Territory to ensure compliance with the law during the inauguration and beyond, by not allowing any cow being seen loitering on the street,” he added.
Engr. Braimah also warned that any herder seen flouting the law will be arrested with their cattle by a combined team of AEPB enforcement officers and law enforcement agencies.
He revealed that AEPB is doing its very best to keep the city very clean in preparation for the inauguration and beyond, keeping to the very high standards it has set for itself and justifying the tremendous support given to it by the Minister of FCT, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello.
Responding, Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, FCT Chapter, Alhaji Usman Muhammad, said the meeting is not only timely but it is strategic, because it provided the opportunity for their concerns to be brought to the attention of the FCT Minister.
“It is our culture to receive a visitor in a very clean and tidy environment and in this case, the in-coming Government is the visitor. We promise to clear and clean the city for the government that we elected. We will help to ensure that no cow is seen loitering the city of Abuja for the big day,” he added.
Alhai Usman recalled that he is one of the members of the committee that held a meeting with the FCT
Minister and some investors from Dubai that showed interest in investing in improved cattle rearing in the FCT for greater profit, which has the potential for generating revenues for both the FCT Administration and the local cattle rearers by introducing herders to modern methods of cattle rearing.
• Additional reporting by Abuja Digest per Darlington Omotoso, Precious Demide & Rakiya Isa