As the federal government continues to make moves to put an end to the clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the country, 16 states have declared readiness to be part of the cattle colonies initiative to find lasting solution to the problem.
According to The Nation, this was revealed by Dr. Olukayode Oyedele who is the special assistant to the minister of agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, although he did not reveal their names.
Benue, Taraba and Abia states have however made it clear that they will not be part of it.
The minister defined the colony as “a place where many owners of cattle can co-exist, be fed well, because we can make their feeds; they can get good water to drink, cows drink a lot of water and we can give them green fodder.”
“By a special design, we have to make sure that rustlers can’t cross into the ranches and steal cows and walk away.
It was reported that Kogi and Plateau states have shown the most enthusiasm for the project although this has been trailed by criticism from some groups from the states.
Ogbhe said that “once the colonies begin, we are also going into large scale artificial insemination to improve the breed of cattle so that the yield of milk can increase.
“As at today, our cows deliver just about one beer bottle which is a litre of milk a day but in East Africa, cows do 15 litres of milk, and in Europe, they do averagely 50 litres of milk a day.
“Somebody said to me in a text, very angry at this policy, that the word colony means that we are trying to use the Fulani to colonize their state, and that it reminds them of colonialism.
“Well, we don’t really want to take anybody’s land to give anybody.”
“We won’t come to a state, take land and give Fulani or Hausa or Itsekiri or Idoma or Tiv and say this area has been seized and given to an ethnic group. That’s not the idea but we’ll also tell the herdsmen: ‘If you are passing through a state, you can only go to the colony and stay there, feed your cattle and, when you are moving off, agro -rangers will follow you and make sure you don’t destroy anybody’s farm.’”
Oggen also claimed that during the administration of former president, Goodluck Jonathan, N100 billion was given to state governors to solve the herdsmen-farmers clashes but it wasn’t put into good use.
He said: “In 2014, President Goodluck Jonathan gave N100 billion to state governors to solve the farmers/herdsmen crisis once and for all.
“Though, I don’t have the details, it doesn’t appear anything was done.
“If the money went to the states and they have done nothing, what do you expect?
“Let me ask: we have three tiers of government, why does everybody blame Buhari at the centre all the time? Why don’t we ask our state governments questions? ”