Home News Ganduje wants Nigeria’s livestock sector modernised to curb herder-farmer conflict

Ganduje wants Nigeria’s livestock sector modernised to curb herder-farmer conflict

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Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano has called for modernisation of Nigeria’s livestock sector, toward ending the perennial herder-farmer conflicts, which has led to some security challenges.
Ganduje said this when he inaugurated the Organising Committee of the National Conference on Livestock Reforms and Mitigation or Associated Conflict in Nigeria to be hosted by Kano StateGovernment.
He said that the committee would be headed by Prof. Attahiru Jega, the immediate past Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The governor lauded the committee’s leadership and members for accepting to serve in spite of their tight schedule.
“I especially commend Jega, who had completed a demanding national assignment as the helmsman in the nation’s electoral umpire, but still not tired.

“Not only that, he has always been willing to accept any challenging responsibility thrown at him.

“The decision by Kano State Government to host this conference underscores our recognition, that the primary business of government is law and order, by government, I mean the executive, legislature and the judiciary,” Ganduje said.

He said that the Nigeria’s latest plan for curbing herder-farmer conflict was facing obstacles, particularly political opposition.

He said that in 2019, the Federal Government launched a 10-year National Livestock Transformation Plan to curtail movement of cattle.

Ganduje said this plan was also to boost livestock production and control the country’s deadly herder-farmer conflict.

He added that inadequate political leadership, delays, funding uncertainties and lack of expertise derailed the project, while COVID-19 pandemic intensified the challenges.

He said the plan represented Nigeria’s most comprehensive strategy yet to encourage pastoralists to switch to ranching and other sedentary livestock production systems.

“It is an established fact that modernising the livestock sector is key to resolving the herder-farmer conflict, which threatens Nigeria’s political stability and food security.

“While the plan has also earned the endorsement of many state governments, it is regrettable that deficient political leadership, popular misperceptions about its purpose and widespread insecurity hindered its progress.

“In several states, especially in the North, there are duly gazetted grazing reserves, a majority of which are degraded and are without pasture or water especially in the dry season.

“Also, about 13 states agreed to allocate 5,000 hectares of land for the ranching or livestock production,” Ganduje said.

He said that the federal government’s move to establish the Ruga Settlements which was received out of misconception with mass of criticisms, resulted in the suspension of the project.

He said there was also a clear sense which must be appreciated that the federal government could not dictate to states what to do with their lands.

This, he said was because the Land Use Act of 1978 put land under the control of state governors on behalf of their states.

“Even for use of federal lands in the states according to the Supreme Court, building or development control permit must be sought from the governors of the states.

“| am a strong proponent of restriction of herders’ movements into Nigeria from neighbouring countries as part of solution to tackling herder/farmer clashes.

“However, another issue worth taking into account is the ECOWAS Transhumance Protocol which Nigeria signed in 1998,” Ganduje said, adding that it guaranteed free movement to pastoralists, herders across the sub-region.

He said that as signatories to that protocol, Nigeria was obliged not to restrict the movement of herders and their cattle from other ECOWAS countries which was an issue to be looked into.

“This he said has further complicated the problem, aside from the fact that most foreign herdsmen were exposed to the firearms market and were unknown to the local farming populace,” Ganduje said.

He said since assumption of office in 2015, the Kano State government had led the way and had been pioneering the initiation of development-oriented interventions at reformation of the livestock sector to mitigate farmer/herder conflicts by tackling the issue headlong.

This, he said, included the adoption of far-reaching measures to deal with the situation and also proposed collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank to fashion out a resettlement scheme.

He said the scheme was expected to take into consideration the educational, socio-economic and security well-being of the nomads.

He said it was also to take care of the disturbing issue of cattle rustling, banditry and encroachment of grasing areas due to increased population.

Ganduje added that the Kano State Bureau of Statistics had undertaken a statistic of all herdsmen in the state for planning purposes.

He added that the committee was mandated to identify market for the products that may come out from the Ruga settlements and also making the Ruga more comfortable for the herders.

This, he said, included provision of animal clinics, health care facilities and schools among other social services.

Jega at the event, appreciated the governor for appointing him to chair the committee and promised that to give the assignment the desired attention

(NAN)

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