There is no gainsaying the fact that the administration of Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State, has suffered so much at the hands of bandits in the last six years. From the current happenings in the state, it is obvious that tackling insecurity is still a mirage.
Inspite of several efforts put in place by both the state, federal governments and civil groups to battle insecurity, the fight seems to be far away from the reality on ground.
This, no doubt has cast a shadow on the government‘s aim to provide good governance and quality services to the residents of the state. This insecurity has resulted in the loss of lives, destruction of farm produce and properties running into billions of Naira.
The situation has also turned resources meant for the development of the state to be used in addressing the prevailing security situation.
In fact, from the level of damages done and lives lost since Governor Masari came on board, and the continuing threat by insecurity against providing purposeful governance, it will require the state government to take drastic efforts on security measures, and make genuine efforts to attract investments and huge resources needed to fix the economy and infrastructural deficit of the state.
With the efforts in place, considering the security concerns that seem unsurmountable, Governor Masari is not only working hard to restore peace and tranquillity, but is adopting new strategies that will, to a large extent mitigate the spate of insecurities in the state.
Some of the measures taken so far include: The establishment of ranches, setting up three-tiers security committees across the 34 local government councils, reintroduction of cattle levy, community tax as well as putting in place several conflict resolution centres in the state.
In an effort to make ranching project possible the state government secured about 7000 hectares of land for grazing. Out of which, 5000 hectares was allocated for pastoralists, while 2000 hectares is dedicated for arable farming and infrastructural development, where only 10 local governments were vulnerable to the activities of bandits and farmers/herders clashes to benefit from the gesture.
Already, the state government has identified investors that will take over the ranch and set up industries to ensure people of the state fully benefit from the value chain activities therein.
In addition to the land secured for grazing, the state government recently donated 100 hectares of land to the federal government for the cultivation of agricultural activities, to be managed by the Integrated Farm Estate at Suduje in Daura LGA of the state.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has released the sum of N6.25 billion, out of the N12 billion the Katsina State government sought for in the National Resources Fund to aid the resettlement of pastoralists, restoring their livelihood through ranch development.
Also, part of the fund released is for the state government to rehabilitate the existing infrastructures such as dams, schools, dispensaries, veterinary clinics, stock routes and pasture development in the Kukar Jangarai grazing reserve, popularly known as Rugu forest, which has 10 ranches across the 10 benefiting local governments of Jibia, Batsari, Kurfi, Dutsima, Safana, Danmusa. Kankara, Faskari, Sabuwa and Dadume.
Asides this, the development of pasture and retracing demarcation of stock routes is to address the prevailing issues, all in the effort to stop further clashes, banditry, cattle rustling, kidnapping among other vices bedevilling the state.
This, undoubtedly, informed the resolve of the state government to key into the ranching project, through the department of livestock and grazing reserve in the state to end the confrontations that negatively affect the restoration agenda of the government in the agriculture sector.
The department responsible for the project has extended an invitation to a team of experts from the federal ministry of agriculture and rural development, to assist in the provision of technical guidance in the following areas; the preparation of a business design and a project plan that would be of benefit for both the people and the government. This will involve private sector fund investment for the development and sustainability of the project, as well as to identify key problems and proffer solutions therein.
From the master plan of the project, the ranch will certainly involve so many innovations and skills that will preoccupy the minds of serious-minded pastoralists interested in the business for the betterment of the state.
One aspect that will heavily attract investments within the ranch is the establishment of milk collection centres in all the 10 existing ranches.
By the time the ranching project is completed and activities fully taking place, this will attract more investors, reduce incidences of insecurity, control the movement of herders and generate huge revenue for the state.
Be that as it may, one question requiring an answer is, will Masari‘s quest for peace, investments in ranch development end the spate of insecurity in the state? The situation in Katsina State will need genuine and sincere approach from the government and massive support from its citizens to bring the state to its former glory.