The implementation is expected to commence on Monday, January 22, 2018 as disclosed by the Minister of Agriculture.
Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Audu Ogbeh announced that the Federal government has concluded plans to begin cattle colonies in some states.
The minister disclosed this during his visitation to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria on Friday, January 19, 2017. He also said the National Economic Council (NEC) has set up a 10-member committee chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to see to the implementation of the project.
“We are happy that we are making progress in agriculture now. One of the most topical issues we have today is that of farmers and herdsmen clashes,” Ogbeh said.
“If we do not deal with it quickly, we run the risk of damaging the harmony and the co-existence of Nigeria as a country. The killings are getting too many.”
“In our attempt to solve the problem, we have proffered certain solutions but perhaps we were not sensitive enough to Nigeria’s fragile sensitivities and suspicions.”
“Only yesterday, a committee was set up by the Vice President with members, most of them, state governors discussing this matter and resolving that states that are interested will begin work on this matter as soon as next week.”
In recent time, the middle belt region of Nigeria has seen a high spate of clashes between farmers and cattle herders. The thrust of the conflicts is the unrestricted access to farmlands by herdsmen which in most cases lead to loss of farm produce.
President Buhari reacted to this issue by stating that it is overpopulation in Nigeria that has led to scarcity of land. Hence, both farmers and herdsmen are left to fight over the use of the scarce land space for farming or grazing of animals.
On how stakeholders reacted to the idea, Dr Ogbeh said: “When we spoke of colonies, we were immediately greeted with reactions that this was an attempt to cease Nigeria’s land and give to the Fulanis to colonise.”
“The intention is not for Fulanis or anyone to colonise any territory. It is to provide a haven for cattle to graze in peace under controlled environments to prevent the conflicts between farmers and herdsmen.”