Fed Govt to establish cattle colonies to curb herdsmen killings

President Mohammadu Buhari
President Mohammadu Buhari

The federal government has given explanations for the establishment of cattle colonies as against the nomadic structure currently going on. The minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said the establishment of the colonies and the land clearing programmes are geared toward increasing milk production and improving the quality of beef.

The minister made the clarifications yesterday when he received a delegation from the Kogi State government, led by governor Yahaya Bello, in Abuja Ogbeh said: “The establishment of colonies and the land clearing programmes are aimed at increasing milk production by the cattle as well as the improvement in the quality of beef for consumption. He stated that these programmes were not an attempt to seize people’s lands and hand them over to herdsmen.

“We have to free our country from unnecessary crisis and poverty,” he said. The minister also promised to offer support to the Kogi State government on its agricultural intervention programmes through the supply of agricultural equipment such as rice harvesters, millers, threshers and tractors.

In a statement to LEADERSHIP Friday signed by Osagie Jacobs Julie for the director of information, the minister commended Kogi State for buying into the agricultural programmes of land clearing, rice revolution and the establishment of cattle colonies being propagated by the federal government.

Earlier, governor Yahaya Bello had commended the efforts of the minister in championing agricultural revolution in the country. While calling for the support of the federal government, he said the state aspired to be a model for other states and change the face of Kogi from a civil service state to a productive agrarian state, which will, in the long run, generate employment for its teeming youth.

The minister, along with the permanent secretary of the ministry, Dr Bukar Hassan, received the delegation while the governor was accompanied on the visit by the commissioner for Agriculture, Hon Toba Kehinde, and the special adviser on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Ahmed Okara Abdulrameen. I Warned Ortom Against Anti-grazing Law – Lalong Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, has said he advised his Benue counterpart, Samuel Ortom, against implementing the anti- grazing law in his state.

Speaking to State House correspondents yesterday after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Lalong explained how he resolved farmers/herders’ clashes in his state . He explained that Plateau State was one of the early states to embrace ranching, which he said, was initially resisted but that after much enlightenment, it was embraced by the citizens. The governor said he sent a 12-man team to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, last year, headed by former Vice Chancellor, University of Jos, Professor Onazi, to learn the concept of ranching and what it entailed.

He further stated it took the state government three months to sensitise the people on ranching after which they were left with no choice but to embrace it. “Ranching, as a concept, is a policy and there are states realising the importance of the policy. I cannot just wake up – like some people said last year that I should go and do Anti-grazing Law.

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“And I asked: ‘Anti-grazing law for what?’ We are talking about ranching; we are talking about development of livestock business and I cannot use the word ‘anti-’ to start driving people who are interested. It is for those who are interested to come and get involved in it. “Secondly, I can’t implement Anti-grazing Law. There are levels of implementation which will require government intervention, provision of ranchers and, thirdly, when you are talking of ranching, it is a component of agriculture business you will also require subsidy.

“Subsidy must come from federal and state governments, and by the time we develop it and put every structure on ground, then we can bring laws to regulate the implementation. So I don’t want to jump one step before the other,” he said. On why did not advise Governor Ortom on the strategy he applied, he said: “To be honest with you I did. I told the governor of Benue when he was doing the law, I said, ‘look, why don’t you tread softly; just be careful; take other steps before you start implementation.

But you see, states are different; his own concepts are different and for us on the Plateau it is different. “I said I will not do the law before implementation. I have not developed the ranching areas, so I cannot go and say I put a law – to stop who? If I stop the people, what is the alternative?” IGP Idris Urges Closer Police-public Cooperation The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Alhaji Ibrahim Idris yesterday called for closer cooperation between the police and the general public, in order to ensure effective policing.

Idris made this call when he paid a courtesy call on Tor Tiv, Prof James Ayatse, and 10 other first-class paramount rulers in Makurdi, Benue State capital The police boss stated that he would put in place, every necessary strategy to check crime and criminality in the state, adding that public involvement in security was crucial for the curtailment of criminal activities.

“The police will cooperate fully with any organisation or group that assists in adding value to its service,’’ police chief said. He added that the present Nigeria Police leadership was prepared to work with any group towards ensuring the protection of the lives and property of citizens. “We want to see a crime-free society such that law abiding citizens can always go to bed with their two eyes closed,’’ Idris said.

The police boss called on the state’s residents to always provide the police with information on criminal activities even as he noted that security agents were already combing all corners toward apprehending the gunmen who killed over 70 natives of the state recently. He also urged traditional rulers to cooperate with security agencies in the effort to restore law and order in Benue.

Idris noted that operational numbers had been released to the general public and urged the monarchs to mobilise their subjects to use them to assist the police. The inspector general commiserated with Benue people over their human and material losses, and promised to ensure an end to such carnage.