Niger revives, expands reserve to check farmers/herdsmen clashes
•Asks farmers to quit designated land
As part of measures to check farmers, herdsmen clashes, the Niger government is reviving and expanding the 30,000 hectares Bobi Grazing Reserve at Oro in Mariga Local Council of the state.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello made the disclosure during an unscheduled visit on Sunday to the facility, one of the state’s 23 grazing reserves.
He noted that the decision was consistent with the Federal Government’s proposed solution to the incessant bloody clashes between farmers and herdsmen in some states and the concomitant loss of lives, livestock, farmland and other property.
The governor said a committee was being raised to interface with herdsmen and reassess the dilapidated facilities with a view to effecting repairs and expanding to cater for a minimum of one million animals.
Bello directed the Commissioner for Lands and Housing to immediately put in measures to revive the grazing reserve by reassessing the structures and other features on ground to enable government do the needful.
The governor, who noted that the revival of the abandoned facility would check skirmishes, recalled: “Our forefathers foresaw a situation of conflict among us, that was why they provided us with grazing reserves over 50 years ago.”
He said the existing structures and other facilities in the area would be refurbished and more provided to ensure that the gazetted area functions well.
Bello continued: “We have some structures on ground and I am sure those ones can be easily renovated. There are also schools and I believe they will need more facilities because we are expecting more herdsmen.
“We will need more grazing areas and we will need to develop grasses. We will also need milk collection centres and veterinary services to be provided on the grazing reserve.”
He said the state government was considering the enforcement of cattle tax system for security purposes, adding that the tax regime would help in effective monitoring of those who reside within the grazing reserve area.
The governor added: “We have, to as part of our programme, put in place a system to monitor, and one thing we are considering even though we have not concluded yet, is the tax system. The tax system is good even for security purposes and that will allow us to monitor who resides within the grazing reserve. “
He warned those cultivating part of the land to desist with a view to averting needless bloody clashes.
“I don’t expect any farmer here. I have just been told that there are some farmers who are here illegally. So if there is any farmer here, I have just given instruction that notice should be given and they should know that this is strictly a gazetted grazing reserve,” Bello stated
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