Don’t Be Scared Out of Your Farms , Obaseki Tells Edo Farmers, Residents as Stakeholders Reject Cattle Colony

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State Monday admonished farmers and residents of the state not be scared out of their farms by activities of nomadic herdsmen.
Obaseki, who stated this at a symposium organised by the Correspondent Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State Council, however declared that not all herders are killers.
The symposium was titled: “Sustainable Agriculture as a Panacea to Herdsmen Attack on Arable Crop Farmers in Nigeria.”
This is even as concerned stakeholders in the state rejected the Federal Government’s planned cattle colony.
Rather, they advocated the embrace of cattle ranching, which they said is a modern way of grazing.
The stakeholders who were drawn from the academia, state government, religious body, civil society groups, farmers’ association, security agencies and the media, made the submission during the symposium.
The Governor, who was represented by the Special Adviser on Food Security and Agriculture, Joe Okojie, disclosed that a 7-man committee which includes Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) and DSS, has been inaugurated in each of the 18 local government areas of the state to address the menace.
He said his administration has stepped up plans to address the menace of herdsmen/farmers clash, part of which he said, is the banning of night crazing and arms-carrying herdsmen in the State.
“Not all herdsmen are killers. Some of them are doing genuine business. We should not allow the bad herdsmen’s activities scare us from our farms.
“In every society, you have the good,the bad and the ugly; and there have always been Fulani herdsmen since we were kids. That is what we are seeing now,” Obaseki said.
The State Commissiner of Police, Johnson Kokumo, said no case of herdsmen invasion in the state has been left unattended to by the police.
On his part, the State Comptroller of Prisons, Amadin Osayande, who described himself as part-time farmer, said his farm was set on fire last year by marauding herdsmen.
The prisons boss who expressed concern over the carrying of arms by herders, lamented that that “when there’s food insecurity, there will be hunger.”
He however disclosed that “as custodians of offenders, we have no herder as inmate in our custody.”
In his presentation, an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Agriculture, Ambrose Ali University (AAU), Dr. Agharese Osifo, submitted that word “Livestock Development Centre” should be used in the Federal Government proposed cattle colony.
According to him, colony should not be a sectional thing because Nigeria is a multi-ethnic country.
Earlier in her welcome address, the acting Chairman of the Correspondent Chapel, Mrs. Nefishetu Yakubu, said: “If we must help government of the day to achieve its quest to diversify the economy through agriculture, then we must begin by first proffering solutions to the herdsmen attack on arable crops farmers.
Meanwhile, Edo stakeholders have rejected cattle colony, rather they advocated creation of cattle ranching
A communique issued by Mrs. Yakubu and acting Secretary of the chapel, Osaigbovo Igbinabaro, acknowledged the long standing relationship between farmers and their Fulani herdsmen.
They however wondered what warranted the recent morbid attacks by herds men on farmers across the states of the federation.
According to the stakeholders, these unprovoked attacks have brought about colossal losses to farmers across the states of the nation and require urgent solution.
The stakeholders said since agriculture remained a veritable tool for sustainable growth and development, appropriate steps should immediately be taken to address the worrisome phenomenon.
While the stakeholders urged all concerned to evolve ways to ensure peace existed between herdsmen and farmers, they advocated for cattle ranching with modern techniques for ease of operation rather than the proposed cattle colony.
“Rather than cattle colonies, cattle ranching is the obvious way to go if the crisis is to be sustain ably addressed.
“If this is done with the use of fodder to feed the cows, the need for normadism will not only be resolved by the additional benefit of creating a crop of farmers for grass production, it will be a win-win solution to all stakeholders.
“That governments at all levels should provide appropriate infrastructural support to livestock farmers and arable crop farmers as incentives to practice commercial large scale/sustainable agriculture.
“That as a matter of urgency, the federal government through live stock development centres in each of the 36 states and the FCT which should be a model of excellence instead of the cattle colony, grazing reserve or estate currently being proposed by the minister of Agriculture.
“That there is urgent need to develop a robust policy or law to guide cattle rearing in Edo state.
“Such law/policies should address the concerns of all stakeholders, with provision been made for appropriate/compensation of victims of breaches of destruction of destructive cattle Grazing,” the communique said.

Author: News Editor

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