…The House of Representatives says cattle colonies, as proposed by the federal government, will further cause issues
…The lawmakers think such colonies would be against the constitution and the Land Use Act
…They also argue that ranches are better and safe because the herdsmen could finally own them
The House of Representatives on Tuesday, rejected the federal government’s proposal to establish cattle colonies across the country for herdsmen and, instead, asked that the latter relate with willing governors for ranching.
GbaramatuVoice reports that the decision of the lawmakers followed a motion by Mohammed Ogoshi Onawo representing Awe/Doma/Keana Federal Constituency in Nasarawa state, on the need to educate and encourage herdsmen on the benefits of ranching.
The House agreed that the federal government should work out modalities with states that are interested to establish ranches.
Onawo argued that the incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers constituted serious security challenges in the country adding that most of those clashes were provoked because the herdsmen roam in the wild across the length and breadth of Nigeria in search of grazing pastures for their cattle, and as a result trespassing into farms and damaging crops.
He said he understands that the grazing practice of the herdsmen was not only exposing them to danger as they become prey to cattle rustlers and kidnappers.
He argued that the decision by the federal government to establish cattle colonies in each state could violate Section 42 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) as well as the Land Use Act.
According to him, those colonies would remain the exclusive reserve of the individual state governments and, as such, would not guarantee total freedom to the herdsmen, especially as cattle rearing is not an exclusive reserve of the Fulanis.
Onawo said he believed that ranching would be a lasting solution to the conflicts between herdsmen and farmers if the herdsmen were fully sensitised and educated about its benefits and that it would enable them to assume full ownership of those ranches.
Presided over by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, the House adopted the motion and urged the agriculture ministry to liaise with states to speedily educate and encourage the herdsmen on the benefits of ranching.
The House also mandated its committee on agriculture production and services to ensure implementation and report within eight weeks.