Senate Committee on Agriculture said at the weekend that a permanent solution to the perennial crises between farmers and herdsmen would lie in the importation of grazing pastures for cattle at designated places across the country.
The committee headed by former Nasarawa State governor, Abdullahi Adamu, welcomed the idea of importing grazing grasses and making them available to cattle, to stop the movement of cattle from one place to another in search of pastures and put an end to the growing spate of tragedies associated with it.
He said government must provide and service pasture to curtail the movement of cattle, pointing out that even the United States of America set up pastures, provide water to grow nutritious grasses for their cattle.
The committee chairman stated that government must face the reality of taking some serious and painful decisions to bring the crisis of herdsmen versus farmers to a permanent end, adding that “there are no easy fixes” to the problem.
The lawmaker attributed the perennial clashes to indiscipline among the herdsmen, government failure to address the key issues promoting the crisis, and the bid to politicise the matter.
Agriculture Minister Audu Ogbeh had in March disclosed that government had a plan to begin the importation of grasses for cow to reduce the movement of herdsmen across the country.
Adamu also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for ordering the release of 10,000 tonnes of grains to ease the suffering of Nigerians over the rising cost of grains in the country.
Abdullahi also stated that his committee had found out that the administration of Buhari met many silos empty when it was inaugurated last year.
He said that his committee was impressed that the main priority of the federal government on agriculture at the moment was to ensure that agricultural practices were appropriately and adequately facilitated.
According to him, the Senate is also working to give necessary legislative support to the presidency to restore the lost glory of the agriculture sector in Nigeria.
He equally explained that government was committed to allowing the agriculture sector to be driven by the private-sector, adding that the only assignment of government was to provide the enabling environment.
In addition to importing grasses to feed the cattle, Ogbeh had disclosed that President Buhari was setting up grazing areas in various states of the federation as a response to the clashes.
Addressing his Idoma people who were demonstrating against the massacre of Agatu people of Benue State by herdsmen in Abuja, Ogbeh said, “We are producing massive hectares of grasslots 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.”
The minister had also hinted that government was in the process of enacting a legislation that would control cattle grazing in unauthorised areas.
“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 crisis if we do not stop it now,” Ogbeh said.

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