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‘Killer herdsmen not Nigerians, government to set up ranches’


Minister of State for Agriculture, Heineken Lokpobiri

Minister of State for Agriculture, Heineken Lokpobiri

• ‘ Nobody can stop govt from acquiring land’ • Ekiti won’t give out land, says Fayose
• Tiv, Idoma, Ohanaeze, S’South, Fulani herdsmen disagree over grazing reserves

No! The herdsmen inflicting violence on their host communities in the country are not Nigerians, let alone being the usual Fulani known for cattle rearing and roving grazing in Nigeria. This was the position of the Federal Government yesterday.

The government also announced plans to establish cattle ranches ‎across the country as part of the solution to the perennial clashes between farmers and herdsmen.

The Minister of State for Agriculture, Heineken Lokpobiri, who spoke at a public hearing convened by the Senate as part of its investigation into the clashes, said that government believed that those attacking villages and killing people were still elements of the Boko Haram insurgents.

In the heat of arguments that ensued during the public hearing, the Chairman of the Senate Joint Committee, Abdullahi Adamu, had to shout down some stakeholders who spoke against the creation of ‎grazing reserve routes.

The minister pointed out that the ranches would restrict cattle in one place, a development he said would result in more productivity from the cattle.

Unveiling the plans of the Federal Government towards ending the crises at the joint public hearing organised by the Senate committees on agriculture, rural development and national security and intelligence, Lokpobiri, said not less than nine states across the federation had given 5,000 hectares of land each to the Federal Government for the establishment of the ranches.

He said the ranches, when created, would end the incessant clashes between herdsmen and farming communities.

“Available statistics in government show that contrary to media reports that these violent herdsmen are the conventional Nigerian Fulani, they are not, as none of those apprehended was able to speak any of the Nigerian languages, giving strong credence to the possibility of the violent herdsmen to be another set of terrorists in the mode of Boko Haram.

“The problem is not Nigerian but regional, more so, when the Nigerian Fulani man has always been known to be a peace-loving person,” he said.

The minister said though the country had 415 grazing reserves for the herdsmen to feed their cattle, most of the reserves, being in the Northern part of the country, were grassless due to the problem of desertification.

He explained further that ranches being the modern way of rearing cattle and achieving the best of productivity in animal husbandry, would make Nigeria have just 19 million cows with a population of 160 million people to measure up with Brazil which has 220 million cows with similar human population with Nigeria.

The stakeholders from various ethnic nationalities like Tivs, Idoma, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and South-South, through their representatives, supported the planned establishment of ranches, but kicked against continuation of the grazing reserve routes policy.

They argued that it would be wrong for the Federal Government to deploy public resources to establish grazing reserves for herdsmen.

On hearing this submission, Abdullahi Adamu said: “Nobody can stop the government from acquiring land anywhere. Government is government. If anybody thinks he is violent, ‎government has the monopoly of violence.”

Also, the Fulani herdsmen under the auspices of Meiyetti Allah insisted that grazing reserves routes should be sustained. They suggested some measures which include the establishment of a ministry of livestock.

The recommendations of the Fulani herdsmen as contained in a paper by the National Secretary of the Nyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Baba Othman Ngeizarma, which attracted support from the Sultan of Sokoto ‎and the Emir of Kano, are:

. That the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development should work with the ‘Ministries of Water Resources, Environment, National Planning, Foreign Affairs, state governments, farmer organisations, pastoralists organisations and community leaders to preserve and demarcate trans-human routes and cattle resting points with support from technical and financial partners.

. Review of past interventions and reports, and work out a comprehensive livestock development action plan under the auspices of the National Council on Agriculture for a smooth transformation of livestock production, including all actors in the value chain from producers (pastoralists) to transporters, markers, consumers and dealers in livestock by-products.

. Establishment of a Federal Ministry for Livestock Development in Nigeria in line with the practice in most African countries that have large livestock populations like Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger Republic, Chad, Cameroun and Central Africa Republic.

. Provision of funding for grazing reserves development from the Central Bank of Nigeria intervention funds, and support from technical financial and development partners like the World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, European Union and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (lFAD) and others; and

‎. Working in close conjunction with the ‘state governments in devising means that will provide for close monitoring and detection of trans- boundary movements, trans-boundary animal diseases, compliance with the international transhumance certificate, vaccination areas, livestock markets, health of animals, abattoirs, slaughter houses and marketing of meat.

Meanwhile, Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has declared that his government would not release any portion of the state’s land, as grazing reserves for Fulani herdsmen.

In a statement in Ado-Ekiti yesterday by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Idowu Adelusi, he said the governor made the declaration in an interview programme on the local radio and television stations in the state.

He, however, said that Fayose would support a situation whereby state governments establish ranches for herdsmen in their local communities.

The governor said moving large ‎herds of cattle from one point to another is no longer fashionable, going by the attendant risks and conflicts being generated.

He declared: “By the powers conferred on me by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as the Executive Governor of Ekiti State, I reserve the rights to allocate land in the state to people and we will not give an inch of our land to any cow breeder.”

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  • Onyewuchi Nze

    Cow breeding is a business. Government should help every business including cow men. But our president should not appropriate the land of those who did not vote for him and give to his kinsmen who voted for him. Cow business men are free to go to any part of the country they consider favourable, buy lands and establish ranches. Governments and banks should help them in the usual way. If government uses fiat to seize peoples land, it will use force to keep those land.
    It is true that a good number of the marauding cow man may be foreigners, but the organisers and coordinators are Nigerians. I suspect the Miyethi Allah people of which our president was a patron and may still be one, knows more than they are disclosing to us. The escalation of the violence of the herdsmen’s violence since the president came to power is not good to the image of our president. Government must tackle this violence and must not be seen to be supporting and encouraging it.

  • Mukhtari

    As part of commercial evolution, the Fulani should take private loans and buy land the proper way by negotiating with the owners and set up their ranches themselves. If the government wants to set up enablers like a Herdsmen bank to give them loans , all well and good but then the local people who own land should also have equal access to such funds so they can set up their own ranches and compete for meat production.When a president makes the statement below as he did in katsina last week, he cannot gain the trust of anyone to invoke land use act to take peoples land and set up publicly funded ranches, grazing reserves or any public property by any name called for a select group of Nigeria who are incidentally his own people. That is nepotism and a breach of his oath of office and is impeachable.
    “The way the Sahara (Desert) is advancing, with Boko Haram growing, and the number of people displaced and uncertainty over rainfall in a land where we fought a civil war leading to the deaths of about two million, for someone to just say he will chase us is not acceptable,” he said. Who is ‘someone’ Mr President? And who is ‘us’ and ‘we’ Mr President? And what did your oath of office say about ‘all’. ‘us’ and ‘them’?

    • ZINNI

      Let that happen only in the North,where did Niger republic get grasses to feed their Animals?Mali,Saudi Arabia,UAEetc?

  • The problem is already half solved. With nine states donating five thousand hectares of land for ranching, there’s sizable facility to accommodate all the cattle and their herdsman in Nigeria.

    • Anny

      That is more than enough so they should all enrol in those cattle ranches created accoring to the donations by those northern governors.

  • Franklin Uzoma

    Fayose my God will bless you

  • Marcus Ijele

    Let us ask oureslves this yeye questions,please, if they are not Nigerians,why is the Government raising ranches for them instead of chasing them out? If they are not Fulanis,it means the fulani herdsmen are confined in the North,so where do these ones come from and who engaged them? Does who ever engaged them know that his employees are not Nigerians? If the one questioned could not speak any of Nigerian languages, then how was he employed and how is he paid ,by sign or how? Do the fleeng Boko Haram members have cattles? Where do the main Fulani herdsmen graze their cattle? If these are Boko Haram and plans are on to establish ranches for them, it then means they have been given oppurtunity to spread and establish. If that happens,has the Government solved the insurgency problem when after you dislodged them,you down play the possibility of regrouping. Can the Government license every cattle rearer for easy identification? Can each of them have id card with his name,picture and the name of his employer written at the back”if found please return to—-Mohamadu Buhari” or whoever owns and employs the rearer? Can the Governmnet first of all ensure the cleansing of all states the presence of the purported Boko Haram herds men before creating ranches for the true cattle rearers? Are Northern elders saying that their cattle rearers are not those carrying AK47, killing and burning houses and taking over communities? No, this is most improbable. I strongly believe that the insistent by the Northern elders that those criminal Fulanis killing people ,are not Nigerians is meant to divert our attention. Here comes the contradictions—At one time, they are not criminals, at another time, they are not Nigerians, and suddenly, they are dislodged Boko Haram members,wonderful. Which do we believe? If they dislodged Boko Haram members, then they are Nigerians and obviously engaged by cattle owners in the North,sent to South to establish their religion. If they are foreigners, then our security agents are only good in killing our defenceless civilians in the South while foreign agents pass under their nose to attack us. Whatever the situation, let the foreigners or scatterd Boko Haram be arrested before cattle ranch is made available for those Buhari admits are Nigerian cattle rearers.

    • Anny

      No government cattle ranches please.

      • Marcus Ijele

        Go back to my comment and read with understanding.

  • gogolagos

    Quoted by the FG: No! The herdsmen inflicting violence on their host communities in the country are not Nigerians, let alone being the usual Fulani known for cattle rearing and roving grazing in Nigeria. This was the position of the Federal Government yesterday.
    Good!!!, could FG tell Nigerians who are these criminals and where they come from?? who is in control of our border? does it mean that our border is porous as knife cutting water? criminals will enter the heart of Nigeria and no security force is able to detect them in time or later? they will enter commit mass slaughter and go undisturbed? where were our security forces? this a serious case that the FG should answer. this means that one day foreigners will catch Nigeria and Nigeria will not know that their enemies are sleeping with them in the same bedroom? it is alarming!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Anny

    Minister, what is your age for you to be talking as a toddler? The herdmens who have distroyed lives of Nigerians are not Nigerians but you want to settle the problem of these foreigners killing Nigerians by taking the lands of those Nigerians killed from their kin and kith to give to these foreigners???!!! The proble you say is regional is not true because it does not exist in Cameroon, Niger, Chad etc If there is desertifcation, why not investigate the use of the ecological fund and legislate on it and enforce it???


    where does Niger, republic,Somalia, get grasses to feed their Animals?Mali,Saudi Arabia,UAE,Libya,Israel,Iraq,etc?Let the FG Construct Dams and irrigation in those grazing areas in the North and restrict these killers fulani herdsmen to the North,they have sufficient Land there,so much money have been budgetd foi fighting desertification over 27years ago,every year,but corruption of these northern politicians nothing was done to justifies the huge spending by FG, desertification is a problem,Saudi Arabia,Israel,UAE,etc are more deserts than Northren Nigeria,but today due to proper Agricultural practices,they produces more green belt now than the UK.please,no Ranches in the south,west Eastern and probably Middle belt as you can see middle beltans rejecting grazing zones,,otherwise,it will lead to Land grab,Islamization,anarchy.,Fayose has said it all,This Heineken Lokpobri is just a sick and foolish fellow,taking side with this idiots killers,his people will start a revolt against his appointment to represent them as a minister soon,so shameless

  • Mizch