The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello said on Tuesday that herdsmen must move their cattle out of the Federal Capital Territory.
Bello gave the warning when he met with members of the Miyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, FCT Chapter, in Abuja.
The minister noted that there is no way, such animals can co-habit with the residents.
Bello said that this is part of efforts to totally stop cattle grazing in Abuja metropolis and major entrance and exit highways into the city centre.
According to him, the decision is for safety reasons; cattle should not roam on the streets and highways in the city.
“This is not because the government wants to prevent cattle breeders from rearing cattle in the Territory.
“You have to understand that when Abuja Environmental Protection Board says cattle should not roam the city, it is not because they want to prevent cattle breeders from raring cattle in the FCT.
“Basically, it is just for safety. It is for safety of your cattle and above all, safety of the citizens.
“In a modern city, it’s not possible for animals and vehicles to move together on the roads because this could cause accidents, which in some cases could be fatal, and it is our duty to protect lives and property,” he said.
The minister implored the association to nominate some of their members to serve in the Ministerial Task Team on Environment to ensure that there is smooth communication between FCTA and the association.
Bello said that the FCT Administration has moved a step further to identify new grazing reserves that will cater for their requirements.
“A total of 33,485 hectares have already been earmarked for grazing reserves to cater for about 7 million herds of cattle comprising of Paikon Kore – 8,500 hectares.
“Karshi – 6,000 hectares, Kawu in Bwari – 9,000 hectares and Rubochi in Kuje has 9,985 hectares,” the Minister revealed.
Bello said that the critical issue is payment of compensation to the farmers.
He said that FCT Administration will work together with the National Assembly to resolve the issue amicably.
The minister explained that the FCT Administration may even reach out to the host communities to work out a situation where compensation does not have to be in monetary terms because of the large expanse of land involved.
“Nothing should prevent the communities that are there and the Fulanis living together because you don’t always have to move people away,” he said.
The minister thanked Miyatti Allah for its support to the FCT Administration and also to the Federal Government.
Bello urged them to continue to robustly support the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Earlier, the Chairman of the FCT Chapter of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Malam Yahaya Isah said the association would continue to promote peaceful co-existence.
He promised that his association will enlighten the members not to breed their cattle on the streets and highways of Abuja again.
NAN recalls that the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) had arrested 589 hawkers, 25 cows, 51 sheep and nine herdsmen between May and September.
Mrs Omolola Olanipekun, Acting Director of the board told NAN in Abuja that the herdsmen and the animals were arraigned in the FCT mobile court.
Olanipekun said that the board had embarked on dialogue with the leadership of the herdsmen in the FCT to explain to them the implication of moving their animals into the city centres.