The Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, has called for advanced intelligence to fish out criminal herdsmen, towards ending the lingering crisis and sustaining the practice.
Prof. Mohammed-Faguji Ishiyaku, Director I.A.R., made this known in an interview with our reporter in Zaria on Tuesday.
Ishiyaku also suggested that herders be provided with ranches where they could raise their livestock either in clusters, or in closely knit communities.
He said government must recognise herdsmen as custodians of a national resource of the country, adding that any investment to sustain such wealth was not too much.
“We must remove the connotation of; I own this and that, or this guy is an intruder, and so on and so forth.
“Government has to work and ensure that things are done in National interest, and politics must be removed from this.
“This is for our economic survival; the herdsmen are the most sustainable suppliers of milk and meat for our country,” Ishiyaku said.
According to him, it will be very dangerous if for any reason Nigeria loses these suppliers of milk and meat, and is forced to rely on importation of such essential commodities from Europe or other countries.
He therefore, stressed the need for government to step up intelligence to fish out criminals among herders; who are making communities to chase out the legitimate ones.
Ishiyaku called for a return to the original plan of ranching and creation of cattle routes across the country, which he said were distorted because of some individuals’ selfish motives.
According to him, the establishment of farms along cattle routes was the genesis of the lingering farmers/herders crisis that threatens to tear the garment of Nigeria’s unity.
“Just the way government is fighting other terrorist organisations to reclaim our boundaries, I submit that government must fight all those forces of tribalism and ethnic disintegration.
“Government should also see that our traditional herding practice is modified and sustained according to current realities of life,” the director said.