Why NEC ask for end open grazing – Gov Umahi

Why NEC ask for end open grazing – Gov Umahi

Thursday, April 26, 2018 10:02 pm

The committee headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said this was with the view to curb the incessant killings in some parts of the country.

The Chairman of the Committee’s sub-technical committee, Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi, who stated this on Thursday stated that NEC agreed that the states prone to crisis should begin ranching as soon as possible.

“It is an agreement by all the leaders that we should not allow herdsmen from outside this country to move into our country and that is the essence of this meeting and it is at the instance of the federal government.

“That is why we are having this ECOWAS communities’ meeting in Abuja, so we believe strongly that since we are speaking with one voice that these foreigners should not come in if they want to come in there should be a procedure with their animals on food.

“This is very important.

“Another one is that we said that there should be no movement from the North to Middle-belt, to South and vice versa again and we should be able to ranch as quickly as we can.

“And the federal government and the states should intervene and apply also subsidy just as we are doing for farmers.’’

Speaking further on the report by the sub-committee to NEC, Umahi stated that another Sub-technical committee was mandated to visit the five crisis prone states to ascertain the extent of the conflict and proffer solutions.

He said the committee had visited Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba, Adamawa and Zamfara, as well as Plateau and Kaduna.

He said it was observed that the conflict was caused by poor perception, competition for scarce resources and banditry or pure criminal activities by rustlers.

He said the committee looked at three categories of herdsmen including foreign herdsmen, nomadic herdsmen and migrant herdsmen.

He noted that for foreign herdsmen, there was no certification neither did they have ECOWAS documentations as a result of poor implementation of the ECOWAS protocol.

He said that the nomadic herdsmen created their own type of conflicts while the migrant herdsmen had settled with the villagers and even inter-married.

According to him, the committee agrees that movement is not either profitable to the herdsmen or the cows because it dries up the meat and gives only two litters of milk per day.

He said that the movement of the nomadic herdsmen be stopped while those who migrated and settled in communities already also entered into conflict with their host communities.

Umahi stated that the committee agreed that the most profitable and modern way of rearing cattle was by ranching.

He said the committee agreed that the five affected states should give land for ranching, mentioning Niger, Plateau and Kaduna as states that had given land for ranching.

“Ranching is being practiced in Mambilla Plateau in Taraba and they have success stories with regard to that.

“We also agreed with the ministry of agriculture that we have the need to introduce new species.

“The minister told us that there are some species that produce as much as 60 litres of milk per day and that the cattle weigh about 900 kg while ours are within the range of 200 kg and less.

“So we have agreed that we will work on the new species and also work on ranching.”

He said the committee agreed that cattle rearing had not been taken proper care of by various stakeholders.

“We are taking care of farmers via anchor borrowers’ scheme, the gesture should be extended to herdsmen as well as reduce the rate of interest to between two per cent and five per cent.”

Umahi remarked that the committee discovered “annoyingly’’ that the cattle were not owned by the herders and as such they did not have what to pass on to their children as inheritance leading them into rustling and other criminal activities.

He said the committee suggested that the practice should be discouraged while the herders be encouraged to own cattle.

The governor added that the committee noted the need to provide good lives for the herdsmen through the provision of schools for their children and medical centres for the herdsmen and the cattle as well as planting of grasses with dams provided for water supply.

He said that livestock production was profitable and should be encouraged and urged members of the public to invest in it.

Umahi added that the affected five states were also asked to recommend the specific interventions they wished that the states and the federal government could do in their states.

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