By Musa Adamu
The House of Representatives yesterday urged the federal government to liaise with willing states in the country on the modality for the establishment of ranches.
The resolution of the House also urged the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to liaise with state ministries of agriculture to educate and encourage the herdsmen on the benefits of ranching.
The House further mandated it’s Committee on Agriculture, Production and Services to ensure implementation of its resolution and report back within eight weeks for further legislative action.
Moving the motion on the need to educate and encourage herdsmen on the benefits of ranching instead of the proposed cattle colonies in every state of the federation, Hon. Mohammed Ogoshi Onawo, called on the House to note the incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers which had presented security challenges.
He said most of the clashes stemmed from the practice of herdsmen roaming in the wild across the length and breadth of the country in search of grazing pastures and as a result, trespassed and damaged crops.
He further said the grazing practice of the herdsmen was not only exposing them to danger as they fell prey to cattle rustling and kidnappings, but that it also results in conflicts with farmers.
He said: “Also notes the federal government’s proposal to establish cattle colonies in every state in Nigeria to cater for the herdsmen and their cattle as a lasting solution to the continuous clashes which, in most cases, result in senseless and avoidable loss of lives and properties.
“Concerned that the decision to establish cattle colonies in each State could be in violation of Section 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and the Land Use Act as those colonies will remain the exclusive reserve of the individual State governments and as such, would not guarantee total freedom to the herdsmen.
“Observes that cattle rearing is not an exclusive reserve of the Fulanis as other tribes also engage in the business.
Determined to provide a lasting solution to the incessant conflicts between herdsmen and farm owners, he advised that modern breeding practices should be encouraged.
He said this was because ranching would offer longer lasting solution to the recurring conflicts between herdsmen and farmers, if the herdsmen would be fully sensitized and educated about the benefits of the programme, as it would enable them assume full ownership of those ranches.