In an attempt to put an end to the atrocious killings in Benue and other states by suspected Fulani herdsmen and the growing backlashes that have stemmed out from it, the Nigerian government has reportedly placed a ban on open grazing of cattle in the country.
The Nation quoted the government as saying that henceforth, all herdsmen must ranch their cattle.
It was gathered that the decision was taken at the end of a six-hour meeting of a Federal Government delegation, security agencies and governors from five states – which are mostly affected by the herders/farmers clashes – while the ban is coming days after suspected herdsmen attacked two communities in Benue state.
Issuing the communique after the meeting, Benue State Governor Samuel Ortorm, accompanied by his Taraba State counterpart, Darius Ishaku, was quoted to have said:
“The meeting noted that all animal farmers must ranch their cattle and livestock for better productivity. It also observed the existing synergy between the security agencies and between the states and the Federal Government.”
Ortom also said it was agreed at the meeting that Nigerians should desist from hate speeches that were fuelling the crisis.
He urged Nigerians to see it as a national challenge that demanded the efforts of all to be checked.
He said: “As you can see all the governors of the states where we have the most challenging security problem are here.”
“We have dialogued; we have looked at the problem with the security chiefs and appreciated each other.”
“One thing that is central is that we have agreed that killing in any form is not allowed; security men must apprehend and prosecute those responsible.”
“There is no point politicising these killings; it is the responsibility of all Nigerians to eliminate the criminality that is resulting in the killings.”
Speaking after the meeting, the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, said the federal government will establish cattle colonies across the country to curb increasing cases of clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
His words: “The Federal Government was planning a programme called cattle colonists, not ranches but colonists where at least 5000 hectares of land would be made available, adequate water, adequate pasture would be made available.
”We also want to stop cattle rearers from roaming about. The culture of cattle roaming about will be stopped. The 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, Ethiopia and even Brazil.”