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Cattle Colonies Tricky Solution to Farmers-Herdsmen Clashes – Don

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The Federal Government has been advised to approach the issue of formation of cattle colonies with caution, as it remained a tricky solution to the constant bloody clashes between farmers and herdsmen all over the country.

Prof. Olufemi Sunday Onifade of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, speaking during the presentation of “Study to Support and Inform the Development, Review and Implementation of Controlled Grazing Policy in Nigeria” by a non-governmental organization, Synergos, recently in Abuja, advised the government to only implement it where it was acceptable and not enforce it as it is planning to do.

“My take on the issue, following researches conducted to this effect and sponsored by Synergos, is that it only be applied where it can work, provided the clashes between croppers and livestock farmers are eliminated. People talk of ranching and other talk of grazing colonies; these are other options. However, whatever one is applicable and appeals to any of the communities involved can be adopted, as long as the clash is done away with.”

The don advised the government to use the good, old method of advocacy if it really wants the idea to appeal to both farmers and herders.

“The herdsmen are looking at the cattle colonies and thinking of their own sustainability. This could be the reason why they are rejecting the idea in some places. If it is presented to them, they are sensitised about it and they understand the pros and cons, they could just buy the idea. That is what advocacy is all about. Not everyone may understand that much, until it is explained to them in the simplest of terms.”

The study which covered Benue, Kaduna and Kogi, recommended engagement with political, religious and traditional leaders in the three states; meetings with community representatives in areas prone to violent conflicts, engagement with security agencies, media campaign to create framework for peace, unity and cooperation, as well as developing a framework for documentation of livestock (a system of livestock registration and tracking) as some of the short-term approaches which could curb the violence and foster understanding in the affected communities .

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