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Nigeria proposes setting up cattle colonies
January 21, 2018, 1:13 pm

The Nigerian Federal government met last week with governors and security agency chiefs of six states to discuss the ongoing crisis between herdsmen and farmers that has left hundreds of people, including women and children, dead in repeated clashes in at least six states.

The latest clashes in Benue, Taraba, Adamawa and Kaduna, as well as deadly gang violence in Rivers State, had put the nation on edge and necessitated the federal government’s intervention. Governors present at the meeting were Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai (Kaduna), Darius Ishaku (Taraba), Tanko Al'makura (Nasarawa), Samuel Ortom (Benue) Mohammed Jibrilla (Adamawa), and Abubakar Bello (Niger).

In a bid to diffuse the situation and quickly curb the incessant violent clashes between farmers and herdsmen, the federal government has suggested the immediate setting up of cattle colonies.

Some section of society voiced their discontent at this move and said the policy was an attempt by the federal government to forcibly collect land from citizens and hand them over to herdsmen Refuting this allegation, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, said that the policy would not transfer communal land ownership to herdsmen wherever it was established.

"Cattle colony is not using herdsmen to colonize any state. It is going to be done in partnership with state governments that will like to volunteer land for it. "The federal government will fund the project and those wishing to benefit from it will pay some fees.

"While ranching is more of an individual venture for the herdsmen and those wishing to invest in the livestock sector, cattle colonies is a larger project where up to 40 ranchers can share same facility that will be provided by the government at a reduced rate. Already, 16 states have volunteered land," he said.

The minister said the federal government would soon hold a stakeholders' forum with the herdsmen and other stakeholders on the implementation of the new policy.



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