President Bola Tinubu has approved the establishment of a Presidential Committee for reform of the livestock industry and provision of long-term solutions to recurring clashes between herders and farmers.
The President made the announcement on Thursday in Abuja after receiving a report from the National Conference on Livestock Reforms and Mitigation of Associated Conflicts in Nigeria.
The conference was convened by the former Executive Governor of Kano State and Chairman of All Progressives’ Congress (APC), Dr Umar Ganduje.
The President explained that the committee is expected to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.
It is to propose recommendations aimed at fostering peaceful co-existence between herders and farmers while ensuring the security and economic well-being of all Nigerians.
“The Federal Government is fully prepared to cover the cost of acquiring the land.
“These opportunities will provide gainful employment for our veterinary doctors, while opening doors for the private sector as the provision of new educational opportunities for herders’ and their children emerge.
“Medical facilities will be established. This is a life-changing opportunity that we have.
“Imagine us producing enough milk for our school children. Imagine us becoming net exporters of cheese and yoghurt.
“Imagine us producing the skin massively with a major Nigerian leather industry.
“Imagine us providing cold storage facilities and employment across the nation. These things are possibilities in front of us,” the President said.
Tinubu commended Ganduje for assembling the best minds and experts to find solutions to the perennial issues between pastoralists and farmers.
He also praised the committee members for their diligence in examining the complex issues related to livestock management, land use, and security.
“Out of every tragedy, if you are careful, you will see an opportunity. We have faced this conflict for some time.
“We know it is a home-grown problem. It is very hard for people to stay away from their traditional, old ways.
“I tried in 2018 to bring about a solution to this problem, but it proved elusive. But I’ve been told not to ever give up and today I believe the solution is here.
“It is not the fault of herders and farmers that this crisis has persisted. It is the fault of the leadership who failed to find immediate solutions to solve their problems.
“Leadership is about thinking and doing,” he said.
In his remarks, Ganduje recalled that during his tenure as the governor of Kano state, he had hosted a national conference as part of a deliberate effort to promote the modernisation of livestock production.
He explained that it was established to also strengthen the capacity of local authorities to manage relationships and amicably resolve conflicts between herders and farmers.
“Mr. President, I am convinced that the report submitted here today has the antidote to the problems of the livestock industry.
“It addresses the key reforms and presents various development options required for sustainable development of the sector.
“The implementation of the proposals will enhance productivity, improve livelihoods, promote environmental conservation, address substantial causes of conflicts between farmers and pastoralists.
” It will also help reduce the cost of importation of animal products such as milk and beef,” he said.