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Gov, groups disagree on farmers, herders clashes

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Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu

Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu and some groups at a town hall meeting have advanced different reasons as the root causes of the lingering farmers-herdsmen clashes nationwide.

According to the governor, the problem was connected with the challenge of inadequate land in the country.

He argued that the farmers face crisis of inadequate land to cultivate, the fishermen contend with insufficient water as well as the herdsmen that equally experience shortage of land to graze their cows. All of these, Bagudu submitted culminated in the ongoing clashes between the parties.

The governor, at the parley in Abuja, insisted that the crisis was not religious, ethnic or regional in outlook, adding that perpetrators were rather cashing in on the situation to foment troubles across the federation.

Bagudu tasked the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the relevant authorities on the judicious deployment of the N10 billion released by President Muhammadu Buhari for procurement of seedlings, fertilisers and other farm inputs for displaced farmers.

However, other speakers differed. While some blamed the crisis on the encroachment of grazing reserves, and thus demanded the immediate restoration to end the chaos, others urged the herdsmen to adopt modern ranching.

In his keynote address, the Birma of Biu and Chairman, Council of King Makers, Alhaji Ibrahim S. Birma, blamed the situation on encroachment on grazing reserves “earlier designed for herders who were cattle rearers by nature.”

He therefore canvassed grazing reserves as opposed to ranching, urging governors to identify the grazing routes within their states, and provide herdsmen with irrigation and other facilities to enhance their only known source of livelihood.

But Birma’s position was opposed by the representative of the Christian Association of Nigeria  (CAN), Bishop Peter Ogunmuyiwa, who suggested that Nigeria should join the rest of the world in adopting ranching.

He observed that it would be almost impossible to recover lands earlier designated as grazing reserves in view of population explosion and developmental exercises that had accounted for their depletion.

To the National Secretary of Miyetti Allah, Baba Othman Ngelzarma, only identification of grazing reserves and making them attractive once more that could bring the problem to an enduring end.


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