By Lawal A. Dogara, Kaduna
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh raised an alarm that State Governors under President Goodluck Jonathan had received N100 billion to solve the lingering herdsmen,farmers crisis.
In an interview in Zaria, Ogbeh said despite the release of the huge amount to the then governors to provide a lasting solution to the menace, nothing was done to put an end to such crisis.
The minister was in Zaria for an inspection tour agricultural institutes comprising Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) and National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaisons Services (NAERLS).
“In 2014, President Goodluck Jonathan gave N100 billion to State Governors to solve the farmer/herdsmen crisis once and for all.
“Though, I don’t have the details, but it doesn’t appear as if anything was done. If the money went to the states and they have done nothing, what do you expect?
“Let me ask, we have three tiers of government, why does everybody blame Buhari at the centre all the times, why don’t we ask our taste governments questions?,” he asked.
According to him, the state governors are autonomous, they were voted-in and they own the land, saying, “we don’t have any land, the Federal Government has only the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where we buy land for certain things.”
Ogbeh described cattle breeding as a major problem before the federal government, he, however, said government wanted peace to reign in the country.
“Government is determined at both the state and federal levels to end the crisis not only to bring peace but also to improve the lives of the herdsmen.
“People may say cattle rearing is a way of life but I personally feel that we can improve on it. Herdsmen children should have access to education and the herdsman don’t need to live in the bush anymore to look after his cattle,” he said.
The minister stressed the need for government to protect the cattle against rustlers while the farmers too needed to be protected.
“This can only happen in an organised environment, if actually achieved, Nigeria will find massive transformation, we will be self-sufficient in terms of milk and we will have better quality beef.
“All these conflicts will go because the herdsman is looking for grasses, water and good feeds, while the farmer is growing his crops,” the minister noted.
Ogbeh observed that the previous administration did not done enough in the area of livestock in the past, assuming that people were angry.
He said if government had invested a beat more in the area, the problem would have been solved like 10 to 15 years ago.
On extension services, the minister said they wanted to see at least five extension workers well-trained in every local government across Nigeria in the next four years.