President Bola Tinubu has approved the establishment of a presidential committee to reform the livestock industry and provide long-term solutions to recurring violent clashes between herders and farmers. Mr Tinubu accused “leadership” of allowing the violence to fester.
The president announced this on Thursday in Abuja after receiving a report from the National Conference on Livestock Reforms and Mitigation of Associated Conflicts in Nigeria. Former Governor Abdullahi Ganduje convened the conference.
“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,” Mr Tinubu explained.
The president explained that the committee is expected to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to propose recommendations to foster peaceful co-existence between herders and farmers while ensuring the security and economic well-being of 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,” stated Mr Tinubu.
He added, “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 possibilities in front of us.”
The president commended Mr Ganduje for assembling experts to find solutions to the perennial issues between pastoralists and farmers. He also praised the committee members for their diligence in examining the complex livestock management, land use, and security issues.
“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 home-grown 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.
Mr Ganduje recalled that during his tenure as Kano governor, he hosted a national conference as part of a deliberate effort to promote the modernisation of livestock production.
“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 sustainable development of the sector,” stated the APC chair.
The former Kano governor added, “The implementation of the proposals will enhance productivity, improve livelihoods, promote environmental conservation, and address substantial causes of conflicts between farmers and pastoralists. It will also help reduce the cost of importation of animal products such as milk and beef.”