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Stop treating killer herdsmen as special breed, don warns

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Professor of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Joshua Ayodele Odofin, has warned that Nigeria would continue to grapple with the problem of killer herdsmen as long as the culprits are treated as special breed.

Odofin in his goodwill message at the11th Agricultural Policy Research Network (APRNet) seminar in Minna, Niger State, posited that no one should justify the killing of anyone by any group under whatever guise.

“In Nigeria today, we have created the impression that some people can commit murder and go scot-free. The herdsmen will continue to feel they are above the law if they are not brought to face the full wrath of the law for their actions. Nobody should justify the action of the herders because doing so will make them feel on top of the world,” he said.

Permanent Secretary in the Niger State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Ibrahim Garba Musa, in his own goodwill message, urged Nigerians to see grazing and ranching as two sides of the same coin.

According to him, both grazing and ranching are geared towards the survival of animals, pointing out that asking herders to adopt ranching is like asking a peasant farmer to engage in mechanised farming overnight.He disclosed that Niger has taken the lead in the establishment of grazing reserves with 23 grazing reserves across 32,000 hectares of land.

Musa also disclosed that the state government had to domesticate researches into agriculture to make them suitable for peculiar needs of the state.He condemned the idea of importing researches from foreign countries and applying same without consideration to the nation’s peculiar needs.

“For example, Niger has all it takes to feed not only Nigeria but Africa. We have cultivable land, water bodies that allow for irrigation, conducive vegetation for rearing animals and lakes for fish farming, among others.“However, over 80 per cent of our researches end up on shelves to gather dust while we continue to starve because they are researches not based on our peculiar needs,” he said.

In his seminar paper titled ‘Adaptive Capacity of IFAD-VCDP Farmers in North Central Nigeria’, Prof. Job Nmadu ex-rayed the problems facing agriculture in the North Central zone, especially Niger and Benue States. Nmadu called on government to assist in increasing the adaptive capacity of farmers in order to employ more adaptation measures.He advised that climate change should be mainstreamed in all agricultural institutions and organisations by providing reliable weather reports through extension services at the local level.


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