EDITORIAL: Ranching Vs Cattle Colony: Our position

EDITORIAL: Ranching Vs Cattle Colony: Our position

Since the beginning of the year, the political space and indeed national discussions have been inundated by the renewed vigor with which herdsmen now attack farming communities.  The case of Benue State which buried about 73 persons in one day, being victims of two separate attacks that ushered in the New Year was to say the least horrendous. While condemnations are rife, the herdsmen under the aegis of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, MACBAN, came out to defend the actions, warning that worse killings will follow if they do not have their way.

For instance, rising from a meeting in Kano on Saturday, the Fulani Nationality Movement, FUNAM, after extensive deliberations, came up with the position that the killings in Benue of the Tiv were well deserved and was retaliatory.

FUNAM stated that they oppose the anti-grazing law enacted in Benue State, and which prevents the Fulani from moving freely, and that the creation of cattle colonies was the only solution to the crisis.  According to the group, weather the federal or state governments agree or not, they have asked Fulani across West Africa to, “move to Nigeria and penetrate every corner” for what they called “the upcoming Jihad.” They warned any who opposes their open grazing against dire consequences as they are ready for war and would stop at nothing to be free to move about in Nigeria and possess communities they so desire as Nigeria is their only God-given country in the world.

While it is interesting that the Fulanis have finally come out of their closet to state their demands, intentions and plans, it has thrown up a lot of questions even as the buck-passing as to the true identities of the perpetrators of these dastardly acts is no longer in question.

On Friday last week, the Federal Government disclosed that work will commence this week on cattle colonies in states that have indicated interest to establish them.  This was coming a day after a special committee headed by the vice president with governors making up most of the membership, to find a lasting solution to the clashes, with the cattle colonies being proffered as the solution. Defending the move, minister of agriculture and rural development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said “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.

The Muhammadu Buhari administration had proposed the Grazing Reserve though the bill failed to sail through at the National Assembly. The lawmakers threw out the bill after public outcry against it, as Nigerians argued that it was an attempt to hijack people’s land for the herdsmen. Many believe that the introduction of cattle colonies is nothing but reintroducing the Grazing Reserve through the back door.

According to the director of National Animal Production Research Institute, NAPRI, Prof. Clarence Lakpini, “We have a population of about 19.7 million cattle and total of 113.8 million sheep and goats. These are animals that graze and 90 per cent of these are owned by the pastoralists.”

While we appreciate government’s efforts towards ending this menace that has led to the wanton destruction of lives and property, we at AljazirahNigeria Newspapers are of the opinion that the establishment of cattle colonies would throw up more problems and crisis eventually. Looking at the arguments being so far thrown up, and the wide outcry by several Nigerians against this move, we call on the federal government to listen to all these arguments and outcry, and to find a truly lasting solution.

The cattle colonies we believe will rather create future problems and crisis that would dwarf what we are currently experiencing.  Globally, everybody is talking about ranching, with new innovations and advancements being introduced, and results have shown that the quality of cattle from the ranches is much higher, with a more efficient disease and pest control.  Even in Africa, countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa and others have recorded huge successes in ranching- a model we expect government to adopt.

Such progressive ranching is the only way to go to ensure a thorough and lasting solution to this endemic crisis

Nigerian Online Newspaper=


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