The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, has disclosed that work will commence next week to establish cattle colonies in states that have indicated interest in hosting the colonies.
According to him, the cattle colonies will help resolve frequent clashes between farmers and herdsmen leading to loss of lives.
The minister made this known on Friday when he visited the Agriculture and Veterinary Complex of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
While Kogi has indicated interest in hosting a colony, Benue and Taraba, which have experienced farmers/herdsmen clashes, rejected the proposal.
Ogbeh further disclosed that the National Economic Council on Thursday set up a 10-member committee comprising the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, as chairman and nine governors to facilitate the commencement of the cattle colonies in interested states.
He said, “One of the most topical issues we have today is that of farmers and herdsmen clashes.
“If we do not deal with it quickly, we run the risk of damaging the harmony and the co-existence of Nigeria as a country. The killings are getting too many.
“In our attempt to solve the problem, we have proffered certain solutions but perhaps we were not sensitive enough to Nigeria’s fragile sensitivities and suspicions.
“When we spoke of colonies, we were immediately greeted with reactions that this was an attempt to cease Nigeria’s land and give to the Fulanis to colonise.
“The intention is not for Fulanis or anyone to colonise any territory. It is to provide a haven for cattle to graze in peace under controlled environments to prevent the conflicts between farmers and herdsmen.
“Only yesterday, a committee was set up by the Vice President with members, most of them, state governors discussing this matter and resolving that states that are interested will begin work on this matter as soon as next week.”
The minister said that open grazing was not convenient for cattle, describing it as “torture” for cattle as they do not enjoy long-distance walks.