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Reps reject cattle colonies, adopt ranching


Members of the House of Representatives . PHOTO: TWITTER/HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

The House of Representatives has rejected the proposed cattle colonies for herdsmen nationwide, instead it opted for ranching.

Adopting a motion yesterday moved by Mohammed Ogoshi Onawo at plenary presided over by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, the lawmakers urged the Federal Government to work out the modalities for the establishment of ranches with interested states.

They also enjoined the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources to liaise with state ministries of agriculture to enlighten herdsmen on the benefits of ranching while directing the House Committee on Agriculture Production and Services to ensure implementation of the resolution and report back in eight weeks.

During the debate on the motion titled Need to Educate and Encourage Herdsmen on the benefits of Ranching instead of the Proposed Cattle Colonies in every State of the Federation, the sponsor and Nasarawa lawmaker noted that a bulk of the clashes so far witnessed in Benue State arose from the roaming by the nomads in search of pastures for their herds, resulting in trespass and damage to crops and farms in the process.

While the majority of contributors to the debate, supported ranching as the “realistic, modern” solution to the killings, some members of the Fulani stock were against the move.

For instance, a member from Benue State, Mr. Ezikiel Adaji, said cattle rearing should be treated as a private business.

The chamber also urged government to consider soft loans for herders to buy lands for ranching.

In a related development, the House set up a seven-member ad hoc committee led by the Deputy Chief Whip, Pally Iriase, to thoroughly investigate the remote and immediate causes of the conflicts in parts of the federation.

Iriase told newsmen yesterday in Abuja that the panel was non-partisan, multi-ethnic and multi- religious in outlook.

He observed that there were shortcomings in the efforts made by the Federal Government and its agencies to tackle the menace.

This, he said, had led to strait-laced narratives, political innuendoes and ethno-religious distrust.

The panel chair said: “In fact, some of these strait-laced narratives have tended to ascribe all the killings to a single cause, thus jettisoning the need to rigorously interrogate the happenings with an open, unbiased and non-partisan mind.”

He disclosed that his committee would use the approach of visiting the locations of the attacks and speaking with the victims, “survivors and other critical stakeholders.”

Iriase further stated that the committee would interact with security chiefs, foreign partners and conduct a public hearing before coming up with its findings and recommendations.

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