Following numerous attacks and killings of villagers by herdsmen, the Federal Government has moved to stop cattle from roaming across the country, within the next 18 to 24 months.
The plan was announcement on Tuesday by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who represented President Buhari during the 19th Regional Implementation Forum for International Fund for Agricultural Development-supported projects in West and Central Africa in Abuja.
According to him,
“This is why our government has decided that grasslands in large portions around the country will be created and improved grass seeds will be brought in from other countries, which have gone ahead of us to create the desired grass that will make it unnecessary for the herdsmen to roam about. So in the in next 18 to 24 months, we assure you that no cattle will roam about in this country.”
In the statement, the minister said the country needs young women and men who can invest in cattle rearing and milk production as this must not be left only to the Fulani herdsmen. Ogbeh also noted that feeding cattle has been an issue, which Nigeria needs to address, quoting that the federal government has given support to rice, wheat, cassava farmers and cocoa producers.
The measure, he said, is a part of the government’s plan to stop the invasion of communities and massacre of the natives by herdsmen.
However, A former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics), at the University of Ilorin, Prof. Kayode Ayorinde, expressed concerns over plans by the Federal Government to import grass seedlings from Brazil for the proposed grazing reserves across the country.
Professor Ayorinde, who is an expert in Crop Protection, said the task of growing high-valued grasses should be left to agricultural research institutes and universities in the country. The government, he said, should look for ways of producing these grasses locally which is by supporting the agriculture research institutes in the country so as to boost scientific research and enhance local production.