By Wale Ibrahim, Lokoja
Kogi State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr
Kehinde Oloruntoba has tasked the appropriate authorities to take bold and pragmatic steps to address the lingering Fulani herdsmen and farmers crisis across the country holistically.
Oloruntoba who stated this while briefing newsmen on the activities of his ministry in Lokoja. said the crisis would continue unabated until governments at all levels took a holistic, pragmatic and decisive approach to curb it.
He said the anti grazing laws passed by some states in the country would only worsen the problem between herders and farmers, rather than solve it.
“Since the constitution guarantees freedom of movement and transaction of legitimate businesses in any part of the country, it would be unwise to place restrictions in the name of anti grazing laws,” he added.
Oloruntoba stressed that as Nigerians, the herdsmen equally had the right to
life, saying rather than coming with laws to score political points, efforts should be geared towards encouraging peaceful coexistence among Nigerians.
He said that Nigeria developed without carrying the people along ,adding that designated grazing reserves had turned into cities leaving the pastoralists no place to graze their cattle.
The Commissioner said that the Yahaya Bello led administration was assiduously working to ensure harmonious co-existence adding, “We must explore means of coexisting.
“We are calling on the traditional rulers, farmers and the Fulanis together to sensitise them on cohabiting. The state is going to create colonies in the three senatorial districts and plant special grasses that grow under seven days.
“This strategy is to ensure that we do not send Nigerians out of Nigeria Once these colonies are in place, there would be less issues of conflagration and hostilities.
Oloruntoba commended the imitative of the Federal Government at establishing pastoral colonies across the country to enable the herdsmen graze their cattle.
He revealed that arrangements were being put in place to ensure bio-metric data capturing of all Fulani herdsmen in the state.
He also pointed out that the State government has proposed to acquire 50 hectares of land in each of the three Senatorial districts of the State with modern facilities to enable the Fulani herdsmen to graze their cows.
He maintained that the crisis was not too pronounced in the state because of constant interactions between herders and farmers initiated by the state government.