Grazing reserves ready in 24 months, says Ogbeh
Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Audu Ogbeh, yesterday disclosed that the proposed 415 grazing reserves would be ready in 24 months from now.
Speaking when he appeared before the House of Representatives to help explore the means to diversify the economy, he explained that he would commence the process of putting the grazing reserves in place once the 2016 budget was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The minister disclosed that nine state governments have already offered five thousand (5000) hectares of land each in a bid to achieve the goal while plans are afoot to import specialised grass from Brazil for the grazing reserves that will be mainly situated in the northern part of the country.
Decrying the poor funding of the agricultural sector, Ogbeh rued the incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers with the catastrophic consequences of loss of lives and property worth billions of naira across the country.
Insisting that the much touted grazing routes would not provide the panacea to the problem, he argued that but for the neglect of the agricultural sector over the years, the clashes between herdsmen and farmers would not have arisen.
The minister who admonished the lawmakers to contribute by taking to farming blamed the elites for the neglect of the agricultural sector over the years.
He noted: “The crises must be brought to an end as soon as possible. We have to reduce the roaming, we have to correct the view that people like to wonder around, and we have to disabuse the idea that the Fulanis have a culture to move around and sleep in the bush and their children to be subjected to snakes bites. It is not true.
“When they roam let everyone of us ask the question what are they looking for? They are looking for grass and water. So if you provide them pasteur in strategic locations and water and we give them other services, I do not think the fulani man would want to walk from his base to Enugu or Lagos.
Unfortunately a large number of the fulanis causing this problem are not even Nigerian Fulanis. Most of those arrested don’t speak a single Nigerian language. Some of them are from Mali, Senegal and even Mauritania armed with AK 47 riffles procured from Libya.”