The Youth and Sport Minister, Solomon Dalung, on Friday featured on a one-hour personality Hausa Programme on FRCN Kaduna, during which he canvassed for public support for the Federal Government’s policy on gracing reserve and ranches across Nigeria.
Dalung explained that this is geared towards finding a lasting solution to the incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
The Minister said it was surprising that mounting opposition to the programme is coming from Plateau, Benue and Taraba States, which are worse affected by the problem of grazing between herdsmen and farmers.
Dalung said this has led to several loss of lives, paralyzation of economic actives and destruction of properties.
According to the Minister, those opposing the laudable programme are brainwashing the unsuspecting public to believe that land belonging to local communities are going to be grabbed and handed over to the so-called “Fulani herdsmen”, saying nothing could be further from the truth.
He also disputed claims that only Fulanis are normadic herdsmen.
The Minister argued that findings carried out by the Federal Government before coming out with the prgramme revealed that there is no country in the world today making headway in animal husbandry that relies on nomadic mode of cattle rearing.
Citing the examples of USA and Brazil in particular, he said their animal population far outstripped that of Nigeria because they have many reserves and ranches.and that normadic cattle rearing is no longer in practice.
Dalung further explained that under the proramme, many jobs will be generated through employment of agronomists, horticulturists and other professionals and wondered why states whose citizens will benefit from this employment generation scheme should be opposing the iniative.
The Minister equally faulted the insinuation that land will be seized from local people and handed over to herdsmen, saying it is government that will establish the facilities and make it available to whoever has animals.
He therefore warned against the politicization of the issue or reading religious or ethnic meaning into a purely patriotic initiative meant to find a permanent solution to a problem that has been causing social tension, violence and threat to national peace and security.
The Minister said he “is hopeful that a lot of people will take to cattle rearing as occupation, thereby boosting their incomes when the programme comes upstream since the harrowing practice of tracking long distances to find pastures for their animals have been removed”.
Dalung did not rule out the invisible hands of those he referred to as “crisis-profiteerers and crisis merchants who are always fomenting or prolonging crisis for their selfish reasons just as what happened on the Boko Haram issue”.
Dalung called for tolerance across board to build a strong and prosperous nation.
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