No Free Land For Ranching In Oyo State, Says Makinde

File photo of the Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde.

 

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo on Wednesday reiterated that the state will not give out free land for ranching, insisting that it is a private business.

The governor said this in a series of tweets on his handle while clarifying a statement he earlier made about the National Livestock Transformation Plan during a security meeting held on Monday. 

“My attention has been drawn to this tweet regarding the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan during the joint security meeting, yesterday. For the avoidance of doubt, when I said we would implement the plan, I didn’t mean a wholesale implementation,” Makinde tweeted. 

“We will be taking aspects which are beneficial for our state. As I have stated on several occasions, our position in Oyo State is that ranching is a private business and should be carried out as such. Our admin won’t be providing land for free to private investors for ranching.”

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Age-Long Issue

Clashes between farmers and herders have been an age-long issue in Nigeria. Herders who mostly move from the northern part of the country to the south in search of pasture have been accused of committing crimes such as kidnapping, rape, among others. 

 

Efforts to curb clashes between herdsmen and farmers seem not to have yielded the required results.

 

But the herdsmen deny any wrongdoing, saying they are being unjustly profiled, their cattle rustled and properties destroyed.

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The Nigerian government has in the past drafted measures to curb the recurring clashes including the Rural Grazing Area (RUGA), and the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP). But these policies have met stiff opposition. Critics claim they are part of a ploy by the government to take over people’s ancestral lands, fearing that such moves could lead to ethnic domination.

Ruga: Cattle Cannot Take Priority Over Human Beings – Soyinka

 

Nobel Laurette, Wole Soyinka says the implementation of ranching or any other initiative to solve the herders/farmers crisis should be done with humanity as a priority.

He said this while fielding questions from journalists about the recently proposed Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) initiative, at an event on Tuesday.

According to him, the RUGA initiative is an explosive issue that needs to be handled carefully.

“RUGA is going to be an explosive issue and it had better be handled very carefully.

“I think there’s going to be trouble in this country if this cattle rearing issue is not handled imaginatively and with humanity as the priority.

“There cannot be any kind of society where cattle take priority over human beings,” he said.

Speaking further, he suggested that the ranching system can be adopted, however, it has to be done in an area that will have no negative impact on human lives.

“There’s nothing so strange or mysterious about cattle rearing so why should cattle become a problem just because we like to eat beef. I don’t understand it, there are solutions which are very simple.

“People have talked about ranching but the ranching has to be done in places that are environmentally congenial to that kind of trade and at the same time do not afflict humanity”.

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While lamenting that hundreds have been killed in farmer/herder clashes across the country, the Nobel Laureate blamed the situation on poor leadership.

“People are being killed in hundreds till today and it’s only because of the failure of the leadership at the critical time.

“The cattle rearers have been given a sense of impunity, they kill without any compunction, they drive farmers who are contributing to the food solution of the country (they drive them away), burn and eat their crops and then you come with RUGA?” he said.

His comments come 24 hours after the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, made some clarifications on the controversial plan.

In an interview on Channels TV’s News at 10, he stated that the plan was initiated in order to stop the roaming of cattle which had been met with incidents of clashes between farmers and herdsmen.

According to him, there is no difference between cattle ranching and the Ruga settlement plan and no state government has been coerced to be a part of it.

Farmers, Herdsmen Clash: NAPRI Urges Herders To Embrace Ranching

Farmers, Herdsmen Clash: NAPRI Urges Herders To Embrace Ranching

The National Animal Production and Research Institute (NAPRI), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, has urged herdsmen across the country to embrace ranching to avoid unnecessary clashes with farmers.

The call followed a series of meetings convened by the Institute for the two groups, alongside community leaders and other stakeholders on acts of modern animal husbandry and farming.

NAPRI estimated that several conflicts that occur annually – involving the death of herders and farmers, or even the destruction of farms and houses – could be mitigated if the herdsmen would embrace ranching over nomadism.

Speaking during a workshop in Kaduna State, an agricultural expert Professor Bathlomey Nwagu noted that setting up of ranches for herders was the best way for modern animal husbandry.

According to him, conflict arises when farmers encroach on transhumance paths, leading herders to move onto agricultural lands to feed their animals.

“Having considered the constant conflicts between the pastoralists (animal rearers), the nomads and farmers; NAPRI thought it wise to train the pastoralists, the youths and even the women in the act of modern animal breeding.

“Armed with the little education they will get, they will know the advantages of ranching over nomadism. Having equipped them with that education, they will now certainly go onto ranching rather than migration.In fact, the problem they have is that they don’t have

“In fact, the problem they have is that they don’t have a steady source of feed. This programme we are running will provide the nomads sustained further feed all year round to make them settle down,” said Professor Nwagu.

The National Secretary of Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Sani Dahiru, was hopeful that with adequate and wide consultation, the programme would not only help in curbing conflict between farmers and herders but would have multiplier effects such as employment opportunities for the youths.

He said: “This programme which has all the stakeholders is a very good initiative to educate our people on how to settle and sit as brothers between farmers and animal rearers and at the same time, train and make our people learn how to rear animals and how to settle down in one place; not to be going from one point to another.”

“That will make us stay in one place, learn about fattening, learn about making milk. This is what NAPRI is going to assist us on and most of our people are also aware of the importance of this programme. Members of the association are happy that this will curtail cattle rustling as well as the fight between farmers and herders”.

Plateau State: Analyst Traces Ethno-religious Attacks To Economic Challenges

A Security Consultant, Retired Captain Aliyu Umar, on Friday traced the tribal clashes and attacks prevalent in some Nigeria’s northern states to economic challenges as well as political manipulations, saying that the attacks are fuelled by ethno-religious and socio-political influences.

Following a recent attack in Shonong village in Bachit District of Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State, Mr Umar, who was speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said the socio-cultural infusion between the Birom tribe and Fulani’s had led to intermarriages, changes in vocational orientation and adoption of names.

“They intermarry; they live together and suddenly they are at war. Don’t forget 20 – 30 years ago the same ethnic differences were there but they were not fighting. The same religious differences were there but they were not fighting,” he said, insisting  that “the doings or the undoing’s of our political leaders are actually feeding that dog we call crime” which is probably out of control.

He also noted that the tribes involved had farming and herding as their vocations but pointed out that the cattlemen were responding violently to the problems of lack of available lands for their herds to graze. “The cattlemen are forced to contend with farmers who also need the same limited lands and water resources to cultivate crops,” he said.

Both groups face the challenge caused by population increase which makes land a scarce commodity as masses spread out to settle on lands which were formerly in abundance.

According to the analyst, the attacks had become a cycle – ‘the police respond late, then there is a public outcry demanding that perpetrators are caught afterwhich a high powered delegation is sent to condole the victims and then another attack occurs’.

Addressing the issue from the perspective of security, Umar identified lapses on the part of security agents, particularly in respect to response time to emergencies. He added that security measures by operatives were ‘reactive’ and not ‘active’ because security presence should be established before attacks and not after.

Reports gathered by Channels Television revealed that the police arrived at the scene of the attack five hours later. Umar berated this, saying it is an indication of poor police presence in the area. “Criminals could have travelled as far as another continent within that time space,” he stressed.

He, however, noted that it would be impossible to deploy officers to all attack-prone communities as there were not enough men in the force, but was quick to add that police outposts should be active while the agents should have rapid response camps to tackle such cases.

While listing suggestions, which he said would help curb the attacks, Umar commended the Inspector General of Police, Mr Mohammed Abubakar, for taking the initiative to present his scorecard in the 2013 and called on top ranking officers of the force to emulate the same as it would help gather data needed to tackle insecurity.

He advised that a better system of communication and response should be established as the attackers would be camped nearby in order to quickly escape after carrying out the crimes.

He called on the government to be proactive in its obligations as the security agents would need to be properly mobilised, funded and equipped to do their jobs.

The retire military officer also advocated the introduction of herdsmen to ranching, an initiative he said would also boost productivity.