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The dilemma over grazing laws – Part 2


Open Grazing

The Order setting up the reserve stipulates that it should be maintained through proper grazing management and improvement activities such as water development, fodder conservation plan, range reseeding and fertilization, control of undesirable weeds and fire tracing. Other development activities include construction of earth dams, boreholes and wells to provide watering facilities, construction of roads, office and residential quarters, establishment of livestock services centre and pasture development. Moreover, efforts are to be made to ensure that the highest possible level of productivity is achieved without endangering the reserve. To this end the government stipulates that soil and water conservation and other erosion control methods should be used to prevent degradation, desertification and overgrazing, and to maintain the carrying capacity of the reserve.

Both the Federal and Kwara state governments are supposed to play active part in the development of the grazing reserve. The Federal government is to be involved in the provision of infrastructure such as dams, roads and means of transport for range guards through the agency of the National Livestock Projects Division (NLPD). The Kwara state government has the responsibility to acquire the land following stipulated legal procedures and provide staff for the management of the reserve. As at 1992, five government officials consisting of a project officer, a veterinary assistant, two range guards and a security guard were operating in the reserve.


In short the Central government did not enact any grazing law. The best the Central Government has done was the promulgation of National Commission for Nomadic Education, Decree 25, 1989 and National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-formal Education, Decree 17, 1990. These two decrees were promulgated by General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd.), GCFR. The Minister of Education at that time was Professor Babatunde Aliu Fafunwa (23 September 1923 – 11 October 2010).

All the military governors at that time were ordered by General Babangida to launch it in their states. I remember at that time there were public outcries about the decree that they favoured the Fulani people. I think it was the best thing at that time that the Central Government ever did for the Fulani people. The Commission devised a series of innovative approaches and strategies. The broad goals of Nomadic Education Programme are: To integrate nomads into national life through relevant, qualitative and basic functional education and to raise both the productive and income levels of nomads, as well as boost the national economy through improved knowledge, skills and practices of nomads. The NCNE’s mandate includes, among other things, the following function: formulate policy and issue guidelines in all matters relating to nomadic education in Nigeria; provide funds for: the research and personnel development for the improvement of nomadic education in Nigeria, the development of programmes on nomadic education and the provision of equipment and other instructional materials, construction of classrooms and other facilities relating to nomadic education.


Other mandates include establishment, management and maintenance of primary schools in the settlements and grazing reserves carved out for nomadic people, to determine the standards of skills to be attained in nomadic schools, to arrange for effective monitoring and evaluation of activities of agencies concerned with nomadic education; to liaise and co-operate with other relevant ministries and agencies; to receive block grants and funds from the Federal Government or any agency authorized on that behalf and allocate same to nomadic school based on any formula approved by the Federal Executive Council; to act as an agency for chanelling all external aids to nomadic schools in Nigeria; to ensure effective inspection of nomadic education activities in Nigeria through the sections in the Federal and State Ministries of Education performing duties relating to nomadic education; to collate, analyse and publish information relating to nomadic education in Nigeria; and to undertake any other action desirable for the promotion of nomadic education.

The objectives of the nomadic education programme are to: expose the nomadic child to the elementary forms of modern education; enable the nomadic child take part in the development of his immediate environment, in particular, and the country in general; make the nomadic child self-reliant to improve his living conditions, thus eliminating the hardships and constraints in his/her life; help him/her modernize his/her techniques of herdsmanship on animal management, fishing or farming as the case may be; assist the nomadic child develop rapidly and fully both physically and intellectually, to cope with the demands of the contemporary world; and develop the initiative of the nomadic child and stimulate in him/her scientific and analytical modes of thinking. 

On November 22 last year, the Executive Secretary for Nomadic Education, Professor Bashir Usman said out of the estimated population of 9.4million nomads in Nigeria, 3.3 million are children of school age. The participation of the nomads in the existing formal and non-formal education programmes is abysmally low, with a literacy rate ranging between 0.2 % and 2.9%. 
Teniola, a former Director at the Presidency wrote from Lagos.


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