Herdsmen Killings: Governor Ahmed reacts to FG’s plan to create cattle colonies
Governor of Kwara state, Abdulfatah Ahmed, has reacted to the plan by the Federal Government to establish cattle colonies as panacea to the recurrent herdsmen/farmer clashes in several parts of the country.
The governor said an all-inclusive yet responsive agricultural policy must be holistically pursued to ensure that nobody was left out.
According to him, both the herdsmen and the farmers contribute to the national economy and their interests needed to be protected.
He, however, added that as available land for farming was getting smaller due to population growth and the open grazing of cattle cause them to emaciate, there was need for the government to review what was done in other parts of the world in order to domesticate them as well as skew the people, through advocacy, to see the new methods as attractive.
Governor Ahmed told Vanguard: “I think we need to sit down and truly look at what is going to work for us as a country. We must first recognise that the cattle herders are Nigerians whose interests have not been truly looked into in the light of the services that they render to the national economy.
“We require a very responsive agricultural policy which must be holistically pursued and must carry everybody inclusively to ensure that nobody is left out.
“I am sure that by the time we can sit down and look at the practices in other parts of the world, we would be able to domesticate something that would suit our interest and peculiarities. But one thing is clear, the way and manner we used to do it in the past is not going to work again because the space is getting smaller, the population is growing and we require optimal land use in such a way and manner that we will begin to get the right benefit.
“Most of our lands especially for agriculture, is not optimally utilised. So much land but with very small output because we have not improved on the way and manner that we are going to create inputs and expect outputs; i.e. based on education, types of seeds, types of herbicides.
“All these things would need to be reviewed holistically so that we begin to see optimal land use to generate maximum wealth and also create space for cattle herders in such a way that they would see the benefit of improving over and above what they are doing today.
“Everybody knows that the movement of cows from one location to the other is very tiresome and most importantly, does not give us the kind of benefit that we are supposed to get from the cattle. By the time they move from Point A to Point B, they are almost emaciated.
“It requires that we create a more enabling environment in advocacy in terms of other benefits of not moving around. These are things that government must put in place; then we begin to create laws that would guide utilisation.
“So let’s look at it holistically, domesticate what is done in different parts of the world and begin to skew our people through advocacy that will make them see the new methods as attractive.”