Kogi Government says the establishment of cattle colonies in the state will check activities of criminals and mayhem arising from Herdsmen/farmers’ clashes, besides restricting movement of the cattle herdsmen.
Mr Abdulkarim Abdulmalik, Director-General, Kogi Information Services and Grassroots Sensitisation, disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Lokoja.
Abdulkarim said the establishment of cattle colonies would enhance security of lives and property across the country.
He noted that the migration of nomadic herdsmen from one place to another with their cattle causing hostilities and devouring farm produce with impunity was now a major source of concern to the people in the same communities.
The director-general said the time had come to curb the menace arising from the indiscriminate movement of the herders and their cattle, saying the government felt it was better to curtail their movement.
“Government says let them have a designated place where they would be restricted with their animals whereby they would not be able to move beyond the designated place and if they do and anything happens they would be liable,” he emphasised
Abdulmalik said those opposed to the creation of cattle colonies were misconstruing the position of the present government to integrate the nomads in a traditional structure in collaboration with their leaders at the state, local government and community levels.
“Hence, if there is any problem there is a line of communication through which they could be resolved.
“If we don’t integrate them, they are still passing by and they are destroying your products, it becomes more difficult for us to do anything.
“So, we have to be broad-minded and look at the issues rationally with open mind. We need them, they need us and they are of some economic benefit to us just as we are to them. All that is needed is for us is look at the nagging problem areas,” he emphasised.
He recalled that cattle ranching were an old traditional practice in animal husbandry, saying the cattle colony shares some similarities with Obudu Cattle Ranch, which was established in the 50s by the Premier of the defunct Northern Region, late Sir Ahmadu Bello.
“If we buy into the state government’s proposal we would have started the process of modernising the breeding of cattle. All that is needed is to appreciate the wisdom in the policy,” he said.
According to him, the present administration in the state will convene a stakeholders meeting next week.
The traditional rulers, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), the local government officials, youth leaders, religious leaders and organisations will all participate in the meeting.
On the issue of land ownership and the aversion to ceding land to the Fulani for the purpose of the colonies and ranches, Abdulmalik said availability of land for the proposed cattle colonies in the state and in the country would not posed any difficulty.
The director-general said government would also come up with a law on the minimum age for the herders, adding that involvement of under-age in rearing cattle would be prohibited in the state.
He stressed that the government has a responsibility to ensure peace in the state, saying that government cannot allow mayhem to continue everywhere in the society.
According to him, even the herdsmen may not be happy with the proposed cattle colony because they are used to roving around.