From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna
Niger state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello has expressed satisfaction with the progress of work at the multi million dollar Bobi Grazing Reserve located at Mariga/Mashegu Local Government Areas of the state.
Governor Bello, who spoke to Journalists shortly after an inclusive visit to the Reserve, said the state government is further expanding the multi purpose Dam to, not only supply water for the Cattle and Pasture, but for intensive irrigation and fishery activities.
“We are also constructing a modern spillage as well as an enhance embankment to protect the Dam and give it more strength because we have since realized that water is so central to the successful development of the grazing reserve”, he stated.
He disclosed that the reserve has cultivated about 300 hectares of pasture which is quite sufficient to feed 9,000 cattle adding that, when the programme is completed, excess pasture would be available for sale to any part of the country.
Bello further stated that the crossbreeding programme has commenced successfully to produce better breeds for milk and beef stressing that the artificial insemination will also begin in the next few weeks.
“As you can see, we are making progress. As part of attraction to the programme, we are trying to encourage and enhance the capacity of women in terms of improving their economic strength by improving the capacity of their cows from producing 1-2 litres to 10-15 litres of milk per day”.
Governor Bello noted that the state government is looking at the whole idea of the Ruga Settlement Programme more from the security rather than the economic points of view adding that the incessant farmers/herders conflicts is partly responsible for the increasing rise in Armed Banditry, especially in the north.
“We try to encourage Ranching to allow our herders to stay in one place where they can have access to schools, water and veterinary health services so that they don’t have any reason to move their Cattle hundreds of kilometers down south”.
He said the grazing reserve will increase the state government’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) overtime but, most importantly it would empower the people and create jobs, particularly for women and youths.
The consultant handling the development of the reserve and Emir of Muri in Taraba State, Alhaji Abbas Tafida disclosed that the programme, when completed, is expected to empower about 9,000 people while their income and that of the state should increase by approximately N9 billion per annum.
He made a clarion call to all Fulani Herders to embrace the huge opportunity provided by state government through the establishment of the grazing reserve emphasizing that the entire project, when completed, is to provide individuals the opportunity to do better for themselves.
Alhaji Abbas Tafida advised the state government to fence the whole Grazing Reserve and install CCTV cameras as part of security measures to protect individual, government and private investments on the massive expanse of land.