Will Ranches Stop Herdsmen Killings?
Nigeria News takes a look at the plan by the Federal Government to establish cattle ranches in some state.
The Federal Government has concluded that the best option to stop the incessant clash between herdsmen and farmers across the country is the creation of ranches.
The idea sounds good but will the nomadic herdsmen embrace it as being put together by the government. Cattle ranching is a modern way of rearing cows and it entails building the capacity to make it work.
There are state governments, including Plateau where hundreds of farmers were killed about a week ago that have agreed to cede expanse of land to Federal Government for the establishment of cattle ranches.
Another state is Ebonyi who is ready to cede its land for cattle ranch unlike the state of Osun that has said no to this arrangement.
The Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola said that the state government would never cede its land for Federal Government’s cattle ranch unless it (Federal Government) would key into the state existing ranch.
The Osun State has an existing ranch at Oloba, Iwo since 2012 under its agricultural expansion programme and also planning to create at least a ranch in each of the three senatorial districts.
For states like Ebonyi and Plateau that have agreed with the federal government to facilitate the establishment of cattle ranches in their states, they will be expected to also learn the culture of the herdsmen.
The Myetti Allah, the umbrella body of the cattle breeders association in Nigeria is of the view that the nomadic life of an average herder is a culture that cannot be subdued by government policy.
That the herders must roam the bush to graze their cattle is a culture that cannot be changed. And on so many occasions, the cattle had destroyed crops, leading to the fracas between the farmers and herdsmen.
Many Nigerians have been killed in the herdsmen/farmers mayhem. A few days ago, the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki called for the sack of all service security chiefs as the first step to stem the herdsmen killings while the government is planning on how to establish ranches.
Another thing is that the government is not looking at how to build the capacity of the herders to embrace the modern way of breeding cattle in ranches. One thing is to establish ranches, another thing the government must do is to train the herdsmen about the management of ranches, which of course is alien to many of them now.
The Nigerian herders, like many others in Africa, are nomadic. Now that they will be introduced to ranching method, it is a culture they will have to learn in a hard way.
And learning it in a hard way will come with some sacrifices from them and their hosts. Yes, their hosts will have to lose some lands with compensation coming from the state government. These farmers will grudgingly give their lands for ranching just because the government has asked for it.
The herders will grudgingly buy the idea of cattle ranches, which will change their nomadic culture and constrain them within a dedicated area.
Between the farmers and the herders, there is still that element of a grudge. We pray that the ranches stop the killings.