By Abdullahi Mohammed, Abuja
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has approved the establishment of a Presidential Committee for the reform of the livestock industry and the provision of long-term solutions to the recurring clashes between herders and farmers in the country.
The President announced the establishment of the committee following the submission of a report from the National Conference on Livestock Reforms and Mitigation of Associated Conflicts in Nigeria.
The Conference was convened by the national chairman of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) and former governor of Kano state Dr Umar Abdullahi Ganduje.
The President said the committee is expected to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, and propose recommendations aimed at fostering a peaceful co-existence between herders and farmers while ensuring the security and economic well-being of all Nigerians.
“The federal government is fully prepared to cover the cost of acquiring the land. These opportunities will provide gainful employment for our veterinary doctors, while opening doors for the private sector as the provision of new educational opportunities for herders’ and their children emerge. Medical facilities will be established. This is a life-changing opportunity that we have.
“Imagine us producing enough milk for our school children. Imagine us becoming net exporters of cheese and yoghurt. Imagine us producing the skin massively with a major Nigerian leather industry. Imagine us providing cold storage facilities and employment across the nation. These things are possible in front of us,” he said.
The President commended Ganduje for assembling the best minds and experts to find solutions to the perennial issues between pastoralists and farmers.
He also praised the committee members for their diligent work in examining the complex issues related to livestock management, land use, and security.
“Out of every tragedy, if you are careful, you will see an opportunity. We have faced this conflict for some time. We know it is a homegrown problem. It is very hard for people to stay away from their traditional, old ways.
“I tried in 2018 to bring about a solution to this problem, but it proved elusive. But I’ve been told not to ever give up and today I believe the solution is here,” the President stated, referring to the committee report, which contains several recommendations.
“It is not the fault of herders and farmers that this crisis has persisted. It is the fault of the leadership who failed to find immediate solutions to solve their problems. Leadership is about thinking and doing,” he said.
In his remarks, Ganduje recalled that during his tenure as the governor of Kano state, he had hosted a national conference as part of a deliberate effort to promote the modernization of livestock production, while strengthening the capacity of local authorities to manage relationships and amicably resolve conflicts between herders and farmers.
He said Kano had remained one of the most peaceful states in the country throughout his eight years in office.
“Mr. President, I am convinced that the Report submitted here today has the antidote to the problems of the livestock industry. It addresses the key reforms and presents various development options required for the sustainable development of the sector.
“The implementation of the proposals will enhance productivity, improve livelihoods, promote environmental conservation, address substantial causes of conflicts between farmers and pastoralists, and help in reducing the cost of importation for animal products like milk and beef,” he said.