Kogi state Governor Yahaya Bello, yesterday, disclosed that the state government has donated 15,000 hectares of land to support the Federal Government’s proposed cattle colony policy.
Bello, who was at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Abuja to submit a letter for the handing over of the 15,000 hectares of land to the minister, Chief Audu Ogbe, said 10,000 hectares would be located in Ajaokuta Council and 5,000 Adavi Council.
He maintained that the government has done effective sensitisation of the people in the state, who he said have keyed into the programme, with many other local government areas ready to give their lands for cattle ranches.
He also stated that the ranches were a pilot project and the Fulani herdsmen would be brought into the two ranches over a period of time, since there was no anti-grazing law enacted by the state.
“The people of Kogi State have keyed into the cattle ranch project 100 per cent. The people are well sensitised and have embraced the programme.
“We are also on the compensation process of those whose lands were taken for the programme.”
In his response, Ogbe expressed appreciation of the governor’s move, saying the federal government would support the project.
He stated those who are mischievous have been misinterpreting the motive of the government on cattle colonies, insisting that there is no plan to take over lands from states and give to Fulani herdsmen for colonisation.
“It is unfortunate that people have been mischievous about it. We hear all sorts of comments on the media about the issue of cattle colonies, even in the religious circle.
“We are not planning to take land from states for Fulanis to occupy. Even somebody from Bayelsa State is rearing cows in his state and the business is open to all Nigerians.
“We cannot continue to lament and say nothing can be done, but we have to do something, because as a government, we need peace. We don’t want the killings to continue,” he said.
He also explained that cattle rearing should not be seen as a private business that needs no government intervention, adding: “People say cattle rearing is a private business, but they have forgotten that government assist farmers of rice, maize, millet, groundnut, fish, goats, pigs and others.
“The aim of the government is to solve the herdsmen-farmers clash and we want state governments to key into it. We wrote earlier to state governments. Sixteen agreed to give land for cattle ranches, some did not reply and others refused,” he stated.