Herders/ farmers conflicts, clear neglect of town planning – Expert




Dr Bunmi Ajayi , the former President, Nigerian Institute of Town Planning (NITP), on Thursday urged the Federal Government to use town planning to put an end to herders, farmers conflicts.

Ajayi, who is the founder, MOLAJ Consultants, a firm for Human Settlement Planning and Development Consultants,  gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

“The herders, farmers’ conflicts are purely town planning problem and Ruga Settlement is not and will never be the way forward.

”This conflict has brought to the open the government’s neglect of town planners and town planning over the years.

”Before now, there were clearly mapped out cattle routes.

”But as modern farming and construction developments increased, those routes were encroached upon.

”We now have situations where herders would meet diversions and activities on the routes and watch their cattle grazing on farmlands destroying them.

”The government should have mobilised town planners to make changes for the re-alignment of the cattle routes and provide alternatives in cattle ranches.

”But this was not done and now the conflicts have led to other political issues which should not have been.

”However, it is still not late to correct the problem with town planning.

”Town planners are available to provide the services needed to put an end to the conflicts between the duo,” Ajayi, who was  also a former President of Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), said.

He said that cattle rearing was a private sector matter and should not be business for the Federal Government to provide settlements in form of Ruga settlement.

He said that the Federal Government should rather provide the enabling environment to attract the private sector development which would then create ranches for cattle rearing.

Ajayi said that the enabling environment would include proper upgrading of mapping out the entire country to accommodate proper cattle rearing requirements for the 21th  century. (NAN)