Popular human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN) has identified ranching as the panacea to incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers across the nation with attendant loss of lives.
The respected lawyer made this assertion in an interview with Thisday newspaper.
Responding to a question on the best solution to the herdsmen/farmers crisis, Falana said:
“I have shouted myself hoarse over the lasting solution to the crisis. Nobody has challenged the solution which is the establishment of ranches. Ethiopia, Mozambique, Botswana and other African countries have solved the problem of animal husbandry. With ranches, Botswana is the largest producer and exporter of meat in Africa. The first ranch, the Obudu cattle ranch was established in Nigeria in 1951. Later the Ahmadu Bello regime founded a ranch in Mokwa, now in Niger State while the Obafemi Awolowo regime set up a ranch in Akunu, now in Ondo State. Under the Yakubu Gowon regime the Audu Bako regime in Kano State had the best ranches in the country. Currently the Nigerian Army has set up a ranch in the Federal Capital Territory. In 2014 the Jonathan administration sent a number of young men and women to Botswana to study the development of ranches. They trained, returned home and were made redundant. That regime made available N100 billion for the establishment of ranches. The fund was diverted by some state governments. By 2016, the Buhari regime announced that it was going to establish ranches. and claimed that 11 states had provided 55,000 hectares for the ranches. But not a single ranch was established. At the height of the crisis, the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe came up with the provocative pet project of cattle colony. Happily, the Miyetti Allah Breeders Association has dissociated itself from cattle colonization. President Buhari also kicked against the idea. But the Miyetti Breeders Association should be encouraged to obtain loans from the banks to establish ranches. Majority of the owners of the cattle are very rich. They should be made to own ranches. We must stop sending cattle rearers to the street in this age and time. With ranches, the animals will be fatter. They will produce quality meat and milk. The cattle rearers will live in the vicinity of the ranches and have schools for their children. It is the height of primitivity on the part of any government to dispatch young men to the street to rear animals. You are risking their lives by allowing them to bear AK47 rifles.”
The lawyer also blamed Nigeria’s challenges on the “ignorance, incompetence, and arrogance on the part of the ruling class.”