In an attempt to resolve the perennial problem of farmers-herders clashes and boost livestock production in Nigeria, President Bola Tinubu has set up a committee to reform the industry.
The President announced the establishment of the Committee on Thursday in Abuja, following the submission of a report from the National Conference on Livestock Reforms and Mitigation of Associated Conflicts in Nigeria.
According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, the meeting was convened by the former Executive Governor of Kano State and Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Umar Abdullahi Ganduje.
The President explained that the Committee is expected to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and propose recommendations aimed at fostering a peaceful co-existence between herders and farmers while ensuring the security and economic well-being of all Nigerians.
His words: “The Federal Government is fully prepared to cover the cost of acquiring the land. These opportunities will provide gainful employment for our veterinary doctors while opening doors for the private sector as the provision of new educational opportunities for herders’ and their children emerge. Medical facilities will be established. This is a life-changing opportunity that we have.
“Imagine us producing enough milk for our school children. Imagine us becoming net exporters of cheese and yoghurt. Imagine us producing the skin massively with a major Nigerian leather industry. Imagine us providing cold storage facilities and employment across the nation. These things are possible in front of us,” the President charged.
President Tinubu commended Ganduje for assembling experts, who are members of the committee to find solutions to the perennial issues between pastoralists and farmers.
Tinubu also applauded the committee members for their diligent work in examining the complex issues related to livestock management, land use, and security in the country.
“Out of every tragedy, if you are careful, you will see an opportunity. We have faced this conflict for some time. We know it is a homegrown problem. It is very hard for people to stay away from their traditional, old ways.
Speaking further on his resolve to tackle the issue of livestock management in the country, President Tinubu said even though he made an attempt to offer a solution to the problem in 2018, but couldn’t succeed, he remains undeterred, adding that the recommendations contained in the committee report, would be a game changer this time.
Speaking on the crisis between farmers and herders over the years, the Nigerian leader blamed it on the failure of leadership to find an immediate solution to the problem.
In his remarks, Dr Ganduje recalled that during his tenure as the Governor of Kano State, he had hosted the National Conference as part of a deliberate effort to promote the modernization of livestock production, while strengthening the capacity of local authorities to manage relationships and amicably resolve conflicts between herders and farmers.
He noted that Kano had remained one of the most peaceful states in the country throughout his eight years in office.
“Mr. President, I am convinced that the report submitted here today has the antidote to the problems of the livestock industry. It addresses the key reforms and presents various development options required for the sustainable development of the sector.
“The implementation of the proposals will enhance productivity, improve livelihoods, promote environmental conservation, address substantial causes of conflicts between farmers and pastoralists, and help in reducing the cost of importation for animal products like milk and beef,” the Ganduje noted.
Recall that former President Buhari had in 2018 introduced a controversial policy called “Cattle Colonies”. The policy was for each state across the federation to offer some hectares of land for cattle grazing. The Federal Government had then said that the policy was to curb the incessant bloody clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
The policy was however met with stiff opposition by many state governors who felt it was a subtle way of transferring communal land ownership to herdsmen wherever it was established. Some state governors subsequently, enacted the anti-open grazing law to prohibit herders from indiscriminately encroaching on farmlands in their communities.
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