The Federal Government is considering setting up colonies where herdsmen would have facilities to rear their cattle.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, disclosed this at a special security meeting with five governors and security chiefs, convened by the Minister of Interior, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau.
The Agriculture minister revealed that government is “planning a programme called cattle colonies not ranches but colonies where, at least, five thousand hectares of land, adequate water, adequate pasture would 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 for rustlers to enable them live a normal life. This has been done elsewhere in India, Ethopia and even Brazil…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 government should get involved; why shouldn’t the herdsmen manage their own livestock?” said Ogbeh.
State governors at the meeting were those of Niger, Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau, which also had in attendance the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, Commandant General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Director General of the Department of State Security Services (DSS), among others.
In his keynote address, the chief convener, Dambazau said the meeting was to primarily share experiences among the stakeholders and agree on the necessary measures to be taken against the menace.
“It is against this background that the meeting is convened primarily to bring us together, to share our experiences on security challenges.
“The meeting will then agree on the necessary measures to be taken and apportion responsibilities. We are all aware of the noble objectives, policy initiatives and huge investments of the states and federal government with regards to numerous development projects being embarked upon, notable among which is in the agricultural sector.
“It is quite unfortunate that we find ourselves confronted by communal conflicts and criminal acts resulting in bloodshed and destruction of food crops, livestocks, agricultural investments, and exposing rural communities to untold hardship,” the minister said.