The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, has assured that President Muhammadu Buhari will bring a lasting solution to the frequent clashes between herders and farmers in the country, disclosing that this will be achieved through the creation of ranches.
He made this known on Monday during an interactive session with Nigerian postgraduate students studying in Wageningen University and Research Centre, WUR, Netherlands.
While responding to concerns raised by the students about the security situation in some middle-belt states in Nigeria, particularly the clashes between herdsmen and farmers, Ogbeh explained that as one of the solutions to this, the federal government has encouraged ranching in some states.
According to him, “We congratulate you on coming here to pursue your studies, and we expect that when you get back, you’ll find a different situation in the country because we will need some of you to manage the ranches.
“When you do return, it’s people like you whom we hope we can organise to manage the ranches. There will be water, there will be fodder, and there will be electricity and some accommodation for the herdsmen.
“Believe me, after six months, when the herdsmen realise that this new life is better than roaming through the bush, you will have to force him to leave that place.
“It’s going to be slow, it’s going to be a bit expensive but we must end the crisis. We have to stop it because the crisis is unnecessary. The killings are undesirable.
“We want to have large ranches because we discovered in our research that we have 450 grazing reserves created from 1952 to 1966.
“The entire land mass is 5 million hectares some of which has been encroached upon leaving some 4 million hectares. This is more than enough to keep 80 million cows, assuming if we have 17 cows per hectare.
“So we have the land and we are committed to developing it by providing water and protecting livestock from rustlers.”