Execution of the plan by the federal government to establish cattle colonies across the country is expected to commence from as early as next week.
Nigerians still do not know the full details of this plan for cattle colonies. No government official has broken down what exactly would be the modus operandi for these colonies, and several states have rejected them. However, according to the minister of agriculture and rural development, Audu Ogbeh, the states that have agreed to establish the colonies would start work next week.
“Only yesterday, a committee was set up by the Vice President with members, most of them, state governors discussing this matter of herdsmen-farmers clashes and resolving that states that are interested will begin work on this matter as soon as next week,” Ogbeh said on Friday when he visited the Agriculture and Veterinary Complex of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
According to the minister –
“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.
“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.”
Ogbeh once again expressed his reservations about open grazing which he says is not even efficient for cattle, in addition to the security implications.
“It doesn’t allow us to harvest milk; the cows are not well fed. What is going on is almost torture to animals.
“If we can create a new environment for cattle, give them what they need, protect them from rustlers, the herdsmen will quickly discover that they are making far more money than what they are doing now,’’ Ogbeh said.