The Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, has appointed the former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Attahiru Jega, to head a national committee set up to seek a lasting solution to the perennial farmers-herders conflict in rural areas.
Jega would be assisted by former Governor of Bauchi State, Isa Yuguda; National President of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Baba-Uthman Ingelyarma; Managing Director of Guardian Newspaper, Martins Oloja, and 23 other personalities.
The officials were officially inaugurated at the Kano State Government lodge in Abuja by the governor who charged them to hold a national conference to brainstorm for solutions to the frequent clashes between herdsmen and local farmers that had left thousands dead, maimed or injured in their trail.
The development is coming a month after two Nasarawa monarchs, Isa Umar II and his counterpart from Azara, Kabiru Musa, signed a peace pact to prevent future clashes by ensuring a successful implementation of the Federal Government’s National Livestock Transformation Plan in the state.
Addressing journalists at Thursday’s event, Ganduje disclosed that members of the newly established organising committee had been saddled with the responsibility of coming up with a blueprint through a National Conference on Livestock Reforms and Mitigation.
He said, “The decision by the government of Kano State to host this conference underscores our recognition, that the primary business of government is law and order. I am sure that some of you will recall that Nigeria’s latest plan for curbing herder-farmer conflict is facing obstacles, particularly political opposition.
“You will also remember that in 2019, the Federal Government launched a 10-year National Livestock Transformation Plan to curtail the movement of cattle, boost livestock production and control the country’s deadly herder-farmer conflict. But inadequate political leadership, delays, funding uncertainties and a lack of expertise derailed the project, while COVID-19 pandemic intensified the challenges.
“That plan represents Nigeria’s most comprehensive strategy yet to encourage pastoralists to switch to ranching and other sedentary livestock production systems. It is an established fact that modernising the livestock sector is key to resolving the herder-farmer conflict, which threatens Nigeria’s political stability and food security.
“While the plan has also earned the endorsement of many state governments, it is regrettable that deficient political leadership, popular misperceptions about its purpose and widespread insecurity hindered its progress.
“In several states, especially in the North, there are duly gazetted grazing reserves, a majority of which are degraded and are without pasture or water especially in the dry season. Also, about 13 states agreed to allocate 5,000 hectares of land for the ranching or livestock production.”
While describing himself as an advocate of restriction of herders’ movements into Nigeria from neighbouring countries as part of solution to tackling herder/farmer clashes, the Kano governor stated that he preferred to follow due process to achieve the objective.
This is even as he disclosed that his government has introduced reformative interventions in the livestock sector to mitigate farmer and herder conflicts by tackling the issue headlong.
Aside from Jega, Yuguda and Oloja, other members of the committee included Pro-Chancellor of Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Prof. Jibrila Amin; former Secretary to Niger State Government, Prof. Muhammad Kuta; Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Kabiru Ibrahim; Executive Secretary of National Commission for Nomadic Education, Prof. Bashir Usman; Managing Director of L&Z Integrated Farms Limited, M. D. Abubakar; former Food and Agriculture Organisation Representative in Nigeria, Rabe Mani; Prof. Aminu Daneji representing Usman Danfodio University and Prof. Isma’ila Zango of Bayero University, Kano.
Others include Bello Kaoje representing the House of Representatives; Mrs Winnie Lai Solarin Representing Federal Ministry of Agriculture; Permanent Representatives of Nigeria to the Economic Community of West African States, representing of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Musa Nuhu; Executive Secretary of Postural Reserve, Dr. Saleh Momale; Prof. Garba Kawu of Faculty of Arts and Islamic Studies, Bayero University, Kano; an expert in Animal Science from University of Nigeria, Prof. Anselm Onyimonyiz; ACP Isa Garba representing the Nigerian Police; Director General of Kano State Bureau of Statistics, Baballe Ammani; Kano Commissioner for Information, Malam Muhammad Garba; Prof. Eugene Nwachukwu from University of Agriculture; Permanent Secretary of Kano Ministry of Water Resources, Dr. Usaini Ganduje; Dean of Faculty of Agriculture, Nnamdi Azikwe University, Prof. Nkiru Meludu; Aliyu Bello representing the Department of State Security Services and former Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Nomadic Education, Prof. Rasheed Aderinoye.