The federal government on Monday has hinted of its plan to build cattle colonies across the nation to bring an end to the intractable clashes between the Fulani herdsmen and the farmers.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh gave this hint while speaking to newsmen during break at a meeting between him, the Minister of Interior, Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, five state governors and security chiefs.
Ogbeh, who expressed concerns about the protracted crisis claimed the federal government was not fair to cattle rearers while it had done a lot for farmers.
He said, “The farmers and herdsmen must not have their lives threatened by circumstances surrounding their professions. We do not want the farmer to lose his crops nor would we want anyone to. Over the years, we have not done much to look seriously into the issue of livestock development in the country. People ask the question: Why should government get involved? Why shouldn’t the herdsmen manage their own livestock?
“I am sad to tell you that in the last 50 years, until recently, we may have done enough for the rice farmer, the cassava farmer, the maize farmer, the cocoa farmer, but we haven’t done much for herdsmen and that inability and omission on our part is resulting in the crises we are witnessing today.”
The minister hinted of government’s plan to make it up to herdsmen.
According to him: “We are planning a programme called cattle colonies, not ranches, but colonies where at least 5, 000 hectares of land will be made available, adequate water, adequate pasture will be made available. We also want to stop cattle rearers from roaming about. The culture of cattle roaming about will be stopped. The cattle will be provided with water and adequate security by the rangers, adequate pasture milk collection even security against rustlers to enable them lead a normal life. This has been done elsewhere in India, Ethiopia and even Brazil.”
Already, the National Assembly is considering a ‘’Bill for an Act to Establish the National Grazing Route and Reserve Commission, to establish and control Grazing Routes and Reserves in all parts of Nigeria and other incidental matters’’. The bill, sponsored by Honourable Sunday Karimi from Kogi State have passed the Second Reading at the House of Representatives.