The Senate Committee on Agriculture at the weekend said it was in support of President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to import grazing grasses from Brazil.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, had in March this year, disclosed that government had plans to begin the importation of grazing grasses for cows to reduce the movement of herdsmen across the country.
Speaking in Abuja, former Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Adamu, who is the Chairman of the Committee, revealed that the move to support the action of the Federal Government has become imperative as the importation of grazing grasses for cattle at designated places across the country will proffer a permanent solution to the endless clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
He also said the government would provide and service pasture to curtail the continuous movement of cattle by herdsmen, noting that in the United States, pastures and water are provided to grow nutritious grasses for cattle’s sustenance.
He dismissed criticism of the move by some professors of agriculture who had opposed the move, stressing that they had technology to grow grasses, if they received government support, and also criticised the inability of the professors to proffer solution to the problem of grazing over the years, saying they lacked any moral right to criticise the government’s move.
The lawmaker attributed the perennial clashes to indiscipline among the herdsmen, government’s failure to address the key issues promoting the crisis, and the bid to politicise the matter.
Adamu said the government must face the reality of the moment by taking some painful decisions in order to end the crises between herdsmen and farmers arguing that “There are no easy fixes to the problem.”
Addressing his Idoma people who protested the massacre of Agatu people in Benue State by herdsmen in Abuja, Ogbeh said:
“We are producing massive hectares of grass-lots for the consumption of cattle; we have received these grasses from Brazil and we are growing them in massive quantities.
“Cattle herdsmen want grasses for their cattle; such grass is what we are growing in large quantities and, within the next three months, some of these will be ready”.
Ogbeh also disclosed that the government would initiate a legislation that would control grazing in unauthorised areas. He said:
“We are also sending a bill to the National Assembly to legislate that cattle should no longer roam in our cities and villages.
“We will equally raise the issue at the level of the African Union, to compel member-countries to take steps to prevent their herdsmen from grazing into neighbouring countries. It will be a major international crises if we do not stop it now.”
Speaking further, Adamu also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for ordering the release of 10,000 tonnes of grains into the system to ease the suffering of Nigerians over the rising costs of grains in the country, disclosing that his committee had found out that the administration of Buhari met many Silos empty when it was inaugurated last year but however, expressed happiness that the federal government had prioritised agriculture.
According to him, the Senate is also working to provide the necessary legislative support to the presidency to restore the lost glory of the agriculture sector in Nigeria.