The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Audu Ogbeh, has explained why ranching remains the best solution to the clashes between farmers and herdsmen in Nigeria.
Speaking during his appearance on a Television programme – The Core on Wednesday, Mr Ogbeh believes people are against the decision because ranches are poorly managed.
“It’s very nice to say ranches won’t work, they won’t work because they were not well managed. It’s not enough to cut out an area and say it’s a grazing reserve – grow the grass,” he said.
For those calling for the creation of grazing routes, the minister noted that such recommendation would do more harm than good as it could be a recipe for more chaos.
He pointed out a situation when he was in Katsina State with Governor Aminu Masari where he was informed that about 3,000 cows have just arrived the state from the Republic of Niger.
Amid calls to end the crises, he recommended ranching as the most suitable solution but decried that Nigerians did not accept it.
Ogbeh, who recalled that he was widely insulted over his comments on the social media, said he had written to state governors to request for lands for grazing.
He was, however, disappointed that the responses he got were not encouraging as a majority of the governors said they had no land for such purpose.
On the causes of the clashes, the Minister said: “two years ago when I came into the Ministry, I wrote to all the state governors saying, ‘we face danger and this crisis can only get worse if we do nothing’.
Can we have some lands in your state where we create large reserves of ranches to keep these cattle and give them the grass, the water, and the medication they need? Some replied positively, and some said no.”
He further accused the governors of being careless in addressing the crises and called for a reform in the management of livestock in the country.
Mr Ogbeh made the comments the same day lawmakers at the House of Representatives asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the Inspector General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris.
The Federal Government has been under intense pressure over the killing of several people in Benue and Taraba among other states by suspected herdsmen.
As part of efforts to address the issues, the Nigerian Army has launched a new operation codenamed “Ayem Akpatuma”, meaning ‘Cat Race’ which would run from February 15 to March 31 in Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger states.