The presidency on Monday revealed the identity of the real owners of cattle allegedly destroying farmers’ crops and causing major crisis in some part of the country, especially in the North Central.
It said the real owners of the cattle were the pastoralists themselves and not some wealthy individuals as popularly held in many quarters.
Reacting to a question at a pre-event press conference on ‘Insights and Conversations with Prof. Yemi Osinbajo’ in Abuja,’ a Senior Special Assistant, Agriculture Policy to the Vice President, Andrew Kwasari said 70 per cent of the cattle found in the troubled areas were owned by the pastoralists themselves, and not by wealthy Nigerians as claimed.
According to him, "It will interest you to note that cattle owned by these so-called rich people are highly secured and protected. They do not roam about. The truth is that the pastoralists themselves own most of the cattle that are causing trouble. In fact, I had met a particular herder who owns 6000 cattle".
He added that efforts were in place to tackle the situation, especially now that the dry season was here.
On what the government is doing to address the continuous farmers/herders’ clashes in the country, Kwasari said a 10-year-plan had been mapped out to tackle the situation.
He said the federal government was engaging the local people in various communities to understand how best to tackle the situation, saying "The federal government has set up a committee to work with local communities in order to proffer a permanent solution to the clashes. A 10-year-plan has been proposed and a long-term sustainable solution is the target. 7 key states for the implementation of the 10-year policy have been identified and we have gone round most of the states and we have found interesting ways to tackle the situation.
"‘’The people are also insisting on the implementation of the recommendation from the last national economic council. A conflict resolution mechanism has consequently been put in place and the people are at home with that. If we are going to succeed in implementing the 10-year plan, then we need the support of all stakeholders, including the media in order to change the narrative.
"I’m happy that the people are willing to resolve the problem. The people have agreed to work jointly.
"It’s very important that we are looking into this problem as this is the first time in the history of our country where we have this type of problem on the eve of a national election. Very soon, politics will set in. So what we need to do is to ensure the community work together to stop this menace.
"From our findings, the people are also interested in proffering solution by themselves. They want the federal and the state government to recognize their institution and their community leaders. For instance, about 256 routes paths have been identified by the local people in Nasarawa State. Foreign herdsmen are believed to come in through those routes and they are working with the security agencies to stop illegal movement along those paths," he said.