OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives was sharply divided along regional lines on Tuesday during consideration of a motion on need to educate and encourage herdsmen on the benefits of ranching instead of cattle colonies proposed by the federal government.
Passing the motion, which was brought by Mr. Mohammed Onawo (PDP, Nasarawa), the House urged the federal government to work out modalities for the establishment of cattle settlement as a lasting solution to the herdsmen/farmers clash.
The lawmakers also urged the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources to liaise with State Ministries of Agriculture to speedily to ensure strict compliance.
Debating the matter, Mr. Onawo said the incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers have presented serious security challenges in the country and that most of the clashes stem from the practice of herdsmen roaming in the wild across the length and breadth of the country in search of grazing pastures for their cattle and as a result, trespassing into, and damaging crops in farms.
Contributing to the issue, most lawmakers from the north disagreed with the motion, pointing out that free cattle grazing is a way of life for the herdsmen.
According to Nasiru Ahmed (APC, Kano), “in countries where ranches are adopted or created it has very high rain fall of seven metres but in Nigeria it is not obtainable so the federal government can only embark on construction of dams”.
Aisha Dukku (APC, Gombe) further said, ” it is not possible to confine cows or Fulanis in one place because it’s their culture and way of life to wander from place to place.”
Mr. Hamman_Julde Garba from Taraba representing Balli federal constituency also said ranching would not solve the present issue of herdsmen farmers clash since the herders are not used to staying in one place.
Speaking against the position of the lawmakers from the north, Mrs. Dorothy Mato (Benue, APC) said no 21st century society should encourage archaic and repugnant practices in the name of culture.
Many cultural practices have been dumped especially where such practices have adverse effects on lives and properties, she further argued.
Mr. Peter Akpatason (APC, Edo) in his contribution said, “cattle rearing is purely business and it is at the expense of the business men who want to engage in this trade. The herders can decide to form their colonies without waiting on government”.
When the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara put the question the ‘ayes’ carried the day and motion was referred to the committee on Agriculture Production.
But this didn’t go down well with some of the northern lawmakers who were seen leaving the chamber wearing long faces.