The Federal Government of Nigeria is importing grasses that will be used to feed cows in the northern part of the country.
Minister of Agriculture and rural development, Audu Ogbeh who made the disclosure Wednesday said this is to curtail the frequent clashes between arm bearing Fulani cattle breeders and farmers.
According to Ogbeh, the Muhammadu Buhari was setting up grazing areas in various states of the federation as a response to the clashes.
“We can’t allow cows to be roaming around anyhow,” Ogbeh said this at the Unity Fountain Abuja while addressing his Idoma tribes people who were demonstrating the massacre of the Agatu people of Benue State by the Fulani herdsmen.
Speaking also to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, Ogbeh said that invasion and massacre of the indigenes by herdsmen was no longer acceptable to the government
He said that a formation of the Nigerian Army had been deployed to the communities to restore peace.
“Yesterday, I spoke with the Ministers of Defence and Interior and they assured me that they have deployed a military formation in Enugu to move in and restore peace in Agatu.
“Today, I will also be speaking with Mr President about this issue to ensure that the problem is solved once and for all.
The minister gave assurance that government was taking lasting steps to prevent cattle from grazing into peoples’ communities and farmlands.
He said that most of the rampaging herdsmen were from some neighbouring countries.
“We are producing massive hectares of grasslots for the consumption of cattle; we have received these grasses from Brazil and we are growing them in massive quantities.
“Cattle herdsmen want grasses for their cattle; such grass is what we are growing in large quantities and, within the next three months, some of these will be ready.
“Most of these men are not Nigerians; they come in from places like Chad.
“Recently, I was in Berlin and I met the Minister of Agriculture from Congo, who complained to me that some Chadian herdsmen also invade some communities in Congo to commit similar havocs.’’
He added that government was in the process of enacting a legislation that would control cattle grazing in unauthorised areas.
“We are also sending a bill to the National Assembly to legislate that cattle should no longer roam in our cities and villages.
“We will equally raise the issue at the level of the African Union, to compel member-countries to take steps to prevent their herdsmen from grazing into neighbouring countries.
“It will be a major international crises if we do not stop it now,’’ Ogbeh said.
Ogbeh had recently announced that the herdsmen would be made to take care of their cattle in the government created grazing areas.
“We will grow grass in the South to feed the cattle in the North, just as Saudi Arabia did,” he said.
According to the minister, if Saudi Arabia with the largest cattle ranch in the world can grow its grass for the cows in the United States of America, Nigeria should be able to do same.
Ogbeh said the government would lobby banks to peg interest rate at five per cent instead of the current nine per cent.