Niger state government is reviving and expanding the 30, 000-hectare Bobi Grazing Reserve in Oro, Mariga local government area of the state.
Governor Abubakar Sani-Bello stated this on Sunday when he paid an unscheduled visit to the Reserve, which is one of the 23 identified grazing reserves in the state.
Bello said the decision to revive the reserve was in line with the federal government’s proposed solution to the incessant bloody clashes between farmers and herdsmen in some states.
He said a committee of all stakeholders had been put in place to interface with the Fulani herdsmen on the reserve and re-assess the existing dilapidated facilities on ground with a view to recommending repairs and expansion of the reserve to cater for minimum one million ruminant animals.
The governor said the revival of the abandoned grazing reserve “will help in preventing further clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the state.”
According to him, “our forefathers foresaw a situation of conflict among us that was why they provided us with grazing reserves over 50 years ago.”
He said the already existing structures and other facilities in the area would be renovated and refurbished, adding that more facilities would be put in place to ensure that the gazetted area functions well.
“We have some structures on ground and I am sure those ones can be easily renovated. There are also schools and I believe they will need more facilities because we are expecting more herdsmen.
“We will need more grazing areas and we will need to develop grasses. We will also need milk collection centers and veterinary services to be provided on the grazing reserve,” he said.
Bello said the state government was considering the enforcement of cattle tax system for security purposes, adding that the tax regime “will help in monitoring those who reside within the grazing reserve area.”
He warned those using part of the land for farming to relocate from the area gazetted for the grazing reserve in order to avoid the clash between them and herdsmen.
“I don’t expect any farmer here. I have just been told that there are some farmers who are here illegally. So, if there is any farmer here, I have just given instruction that notice should be given and they should know that this is strictly a gazetted Grazing Reserve.”
Earlier, the officer in charge of the Grazing Reserve, Mr. David Sado, said past administrations had abandoned the Reserve since 2006, when the federal government handed it over to the state.
According to him, Bobi Grazing Reserves consists of seven blocks with at least 700 households and six earth dams, solar powered and motorised boreholes and five pasture blocks.