The federal government has said that the inability of government to pay attention to herdsmen and cow farming in the country, unlike others, has largely contributed and resulted to a threat against the farmers.
The government however, expressed concerns that the current trend of clashes between the herdsmen and famers was dangerous for the country.
Speaking on Monday in Abuja, at a special security meeting with five governors and security chiefs, convened by the Minister of Interior, Abdulraheem Dambazau, his counterpart at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe, blamed the negligence on the government.
“Over the years we have not done much to look seriously into the issue of livestock development in the country. People ask the question why should governmment get involved why shouldn’t the herdsmen manage their own livestock? I am sad to tell you that in the last fifty years until recently we may have done enough for the Rice farmer, the cassava farmer, the maize farmer, the cocoa farmer, but we haven’t done much for herdsmen and that inability and omission on our part is resulting in the crises we are witnesing today.
“In Europe every cow that is farmed gets a subsidy of 6 Euros per day, we have done next to nothing for the cattle rearers and as a result its operation has become a threat to the existence of our farmers that is what this communique will seek to resolve.
State governors at the meeting including that of Niger, Benue, Nasarawa and Pleateu governors.
The meeting also had in attendance the Inspector General of Police, Commandant General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Director General of the Department of State Security Services (DSS) among others.
Speaking further, the Minister of Agriculture revealed that the federal government was “planning a programme called cattle colonies not ranches but colonies where at least five thousand hectres of land would be made available, adequate water, adequate pasture would be made available.
“We also want to stop cattle rearers from the culture of roaming about as cattle will be provided with water and adequate security by the rangers, adequate pasture milk collection even security for rustlers to enable them live a normal life this has been done elsewhere in India, Ethopia and even Brazil.”
For the convener and Minister of Interior, the meeting was to primarily share experiences among the stakeholders and and then agree on necessary measures to be taken against the menace.
According to Dambazau, “the current situation is very dangerous to the Northern Nigeria in particular and the Nation in general.”
The Minister stated further that threats to peace and public safety in any form at any location in the country will not be tolerated.
“It is the responsibility of governments at all levels to provide, unconditionally, sustainable peace and public safety within their territorial boundaries. Against this background, the meeting is convened to primarily bring us together to share our experiences on the aforementioned security challenges. The meeting will then agree on necessary measures to be taken and apportion responsibilities.
“The immediate repercussion of this menace include hunger due to acute shortage of food, diseases, criminal activities and deepening animosity between ethnic and religious groups.
“Knowing that general elections are fast approaching and considering the history of political and election violence in Nigeria, all necessary steps must be taken to ensure that the recently witnessed crimes and violent conflicts are curtailed with utmost dispatch.”