The Federal Government has indicated the need to revisit and remodel its national ranching programme to address recurring clashes between herders and farmers across the country.
This is contained in a memo by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, signed by a Director in the SGF office, Mr David Attah, and obtained by NAN on Tuesday in Abuja.
The memo titled, “Heightened misunderstanding between farmers and herders in Abia, Delta and Kwara States’’, was addressed to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and that of Information.
According to the SGF, the recurring invasion of farmlands by migrant herders with accompanying hostilities across affected agrarian settlements had continued to pose a threat to food security.
He added that the situation had affected peaceful coexistence in the affected communities.
“The aforementioned development underscores the need to revisit and remodel the ranching programme.
“And to partly facilitate the campaign against inflammatory and divisive statements that are capable of escalating the subsisting crisis between farmers and herders,” the SGF added.
He urged the ministers to take necessary action on the matter to ensure peaceful coexistence between farmers and herders across the country.
According to him, there is a looming confrontation between itinerant herders and farmers in Opiene community, Arochukwu Local Government Area of Abia over alleged invasion by the herders on farmlands in adjoining Oblene forest.
He said nomads numbering about 15 arrived at the agrarian settlement from neighbouring Itu village in Gdukpani Local Government Area of Cross River.
According to him, the President-General of the community, Kalu Irem, had drawn the attention of the government to the matter and urged the government to intervene to avoid confrontation.
“Similarly, uneasy calm has pervaded Ogwashi-Uku and Ubulu-Unor communities in Aniocha Local Government Area of Delta State, due to increasing presence of strange pastoralists in the area.
“The anxiety followed the refusal of some residents to serve as guarantors to the intruding herders, who have already encroached on some farms at Chibata and Aboh-Ogwashi villages in the same LGA.
“Relatedly, in Kwara, some nomads operating around the Marafa axis of Ilorin-East Local Government Area were reportedly ready to confront members of their host community.
“The planned confrontation was as a result of the recent attack on two of their kinsmen in the area.
“Meanwhile, the victims, Sadik Isah and Abubakar Bindo were said to be receiving treatment at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital,’’ he added.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the federal government had introduced the National Livestock Transformation Programme as a panacea to the farmer-herder clashes.
The government had in December 2021 released N1 billion to Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa and Adamawa states for the commencement of the remodelled livestock programme.
A total of 22 out of the 36 states of the country had in October 2021 indicated interest to key into the programme.
Initial attempt by the federal government in 2018 to establish 94 ranches in 10 states prone to herdsmen-farmers clashes was stalled due to misunderstanding of the programme by stakeholders.
The National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had at the time approved a 10-year National Livestock Plan which will cost about N179 billion. (NAN)