Fellow Nigerians, by now you must have heard that the national assembly has resolved that we should have a database for cows in Nigeria. This again adds to the list of senseless and ineffective solutions constantly being proposed as a solution to what they prefer to call the farmers/herders clashes.
It is regrettable that our national assembly will sit and come up with this utterly senile solution to a problem whose solution is a clear as day. How does a database for cows prevent the incidents of cows destroying crops in people’s farms? As far as I know, a database or chip identification will only partially address the issue of rustling/stealing of cows and nothing more.
The solution we all are running away from is called RANCHING! That is how cattle are reared in the biggest countries in the world. I once proposed that the ministry of Agric sponsor a trip for Myetti Allah to visit Texas and Kenya and see first hand the benefits of ranching and its economic value. That may eventually change their perspective and resistance to the idea of ranching.
All over the world, population explosion and infrastructure development shrinks the land available. Building of bridges, estates, roads, hospitals and other amenities involves taking over large expanse of land. What was available for free grazing 40years ago may likely not be available today.
Talking about grazing routes that were established when our population was barely 10million, is today totally nonsensical in the face of a population of about 200M. In some places, roads have encroached into grazing routes, schools, hospitals and what have you. Will you destroy these essential infrastructure to enforce grazing routes?
What is again very clear in this crisis is the unwillingness of government to take a bold and fair decision in addressing this issue. It is rather strange that the FG hasn’t deemed it fit to call a stakeholders conference on this issues where both farmers and herders will agree on a workable solution. Rather, the FG has left the issue to various states to do as they like. This is not only grossly irresponsible, but a share abdication of responsibility on the part of FG.
Why are we against ranching? Why has the government not built a prototype ranch for herders to practically see what ranching is all about? This is a problem that has claimed and still claiming lives of citizens across the country. Yet, the FG is playing the Ostrich. Making useless and senile suggestions from time to time and leaving out what has worked perfectly the world over.
Yesterday, Ebonyi state joined the list of states that have banned open grazing. I know there were no adequate provisions made before such a law was passed. It was an aggressive reaction to the killing of people. Nigeria must decide what we want to do about open grazing of cattle across the country.
The FG must be forced to the table where a solution will be agreed by ALL stakeholders. This idea of force feeding a particular solution will not work. The FG knows this and for whatever reasons, they have chosen to ignore the obvious.
A workable solution is one in which parties shift ground here and there, and a middle ground agreeable to all is arrived at. That is the only way we can have a permanent solution to this problem. But then again, is the FG truly interested in solving this issue?