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Herdsmen attacks: Nigeria loses N5.04trn annually

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Herdsmen attacks: Nigeria loses N5.04trn annually

 

The PFN image maker said the organization condemned any attempt to “arm twist” Christians into accepting judgment delivered by courts in the northern part of the country without considering the religion of other people.

 

The Federal Government has said that Nigeria loses about $14 billion (N5.04 trillion) annually to the frequent conflicts between herdsmen and farmers in different parts of the country.

 

It has, therefore, developed a plan to permanently solve the farmers-herders’ conflicts which has claimed the lives of thousands over the years.

 

“Nomadic livestock production in Nigeria is facing major crises and is at a crossroads due to declining availability of pasture, overgrazing, and most importantly, the recurrent and expanding fatal conflicts between pastoralists and crop farmers.

“The impacts on food and nutrition security, as well as public safety and national security, are huge and far-reaching.

“This includes destruction of schools, homes, religious houses, primary health centres and community infrastructure, as well as tens of thousands of internally displaced persons.

 

“In addition to loss of human lives, it is estimated that Nigeria loses about $14 billion (N5.04 trillion) annually to herdsmen-farmers’ conflicts,” the Federal Government stated in the ‘The National Livestock Transformation Plan” released yesterday in Abuja.

 

At least hundreds of people have been killed in 2018 alone in violence involving nomadic herdsmen seeking water and pasture in Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa and Kaduna states.

 

Technical Adviser to the National Economic Council (NEC), Mr. Andrew Kwasari, unveiled the plan yesterday at a policy dialogue in Abuja.

 

The event was attended by several top government functionaries, including the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Developnent, Chief Audu Ogbeh and the Governor of Benue State, Dr. Samuel Ortom.

In the presentation, Kwasari disclosed that the plan was the outcome of meetings and recommendations by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and NEC in 2017.

NEC is headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and includes all state governors as well as some ministers as members.

 

Under the plan, the Federal Government would create large ranches in 10 key states, which have been identified as the frontline states, to receive pilot interventions in line with the recommendations of the FMARD and NEC livestock conference.

The states include: Adamawa, Benue, Ebonyi, Edo, Kaduna, Nassarawa, Oyo, Plateau, Taraba and Zamfara.

 

“A Ranch Design Plan has also been proposed in models of various sizes clustered in 94 locations in the 10 pilot states. The government intends to transition pastoralism to ranching in order to reduce the struggle for common resources,” Kwasari said.

According to him, the proposed ranches would be established in cluster size models of 30, 60, 150 and 300 cows in a location within the donated gazetted grazing reserves.

There would be a minimum of 1,000 cows’ breeder ranch in seven of the 10 pilot states.

Kwasari also noted that these well-equipped ranches will gulp over N179 billion over a 10-year period, adding that both the federal and state governments would share the funding cost of about N70 billion meant for the first three years in the pilot phase.

 

He explained that the National Livestock Transformation Plan was built on six key pillars namely, economic investment, conflict resolution, law and order, humanitarian relief, information education and strategic communication; and cross-cutting issues.

 

According to the government, the economic investment pillar would support and strengthen the development of market-driven ranches in seven pilot states for improved livestock productivity through breed (genetic) improvement and pasture production, in addition to efficient land and water productivity.

 

The plan, he said, would not only rebuild social capital at the community level, promote mutual trust and consolidate the peace process, but would also promote law and order and support the strengthening of legal frameworks for improving livestock production, peace and harmony.

 

The plan, Kwasari said, would bring humanitarian relief through the rebuilding and reconstruction of common facilities – worship places, markets and individual homes that have been destroyed during the past conflicts.

The fifth pillar would aid information, education and strategic communication on the development of grazing reserves in the frontline states, and mitigate the consequences of these conflicts such as wanton loss of lives, destruction of properties, including schools and facilities.

 

He said that the sixth pillar would identify various cross-cutting issues necessary to realise the objectives of the programme, which include monitoring and evaluation; and research to contribute evidence-based programme implementation as well as gender mainstreaming.

 

The new strategy is expected to increase Nigeria’s milk output in excess of 200 million litres by the second year and 700 million litres of milk by the fourth year of the project.

 

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, said the plan was geared towards bringing the perennial farmer/herder crisis to an end as quickly as possible.

 

According to him, nomadic herding of livestock was no longer sustainable and the time had come for Nigeria to adopt ranching.

 

Meanwhile, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has told the Minister of Defence, Brig-Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali, to stop speaking as the mouthpiece of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, the umbrella body of the herdsmen.

 

Ortom told Dan-Ali to apologise for his inciting comments.

 

The minister had, on June 5 after the National Security Council meeting, called for the suspension of the anti-grazing law operational in Benue, Taraba, Abia and Ekiti states.

 

Ortom, who spoke at the event, said: “In a time like this, we should be sensitive to what is going on. When the young man was making his remarks, he was literally shaking and it is coming from the heart and that is how most Nigerians are. I wonder if the minister has had time to read the newspapers, he would have felt the feelings of Nigerians for him calling for the suspension of a legitimate law.

 

“It is not good enough, it is casting the government in bad light and the Minister of the Federal Republic should represent the interest of Nigerians. He should not be the mouthpiece of Miyetti Allah in a conflict involving Nigerians, especially when it is not your technical supervision. He should have allowed the Minister of Agric, who has the responsibility of managing this, to speak instead of making such inflammatory statements, because a lot of people read different meanings to it.

 

“Coming from a Security Council meeting and making such statements, he needs to apologise to Nigerians.”

 

Ortom justified the anti-grazing law.

“We did the anti-grazing law out of desperation to find peace.”

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