By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State has issued quit notice to all farming families squatting on any of the 30,000 hectares of land earmarked and gazetted as grazing fields for pastoralists.
He equally gave stern warning against persons encroaching on the land just as the state government has revoked ownership of all land titles and ownership of properties by individuals within the territories of the lands set aside for flock grazing.
However, farmers who already have planted crops on any part of the grazing fields are given a grace period till the end of the current cropping season to harvest their crops and vacate from the land.
While on a recent visit to the Bobbi grazing reserve, governor Sani Bello reiterated his administration’s determination to transform the livestock industry in the state as part of his efforts towards boosting the economy of the state by creating more job opportunities for the teeming unemployed youths across the state.
The governor led a delegation from the Central Bank of Nigeria to inspect ongoing work at the Bobbi grazing reserve project located in Mariga Local Government Area of the state.
The state government said it had spent over N2.1 Billion to put up the place for the comfort of flock and their herders. The Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) is to finance the private sector towards the actualisation of the project.
Governor Sani Bello noted however that though the state government had laid the foundation, more still needed to be done. He acknowledged the encouraging presence of some private investor players who have moved to the site.
He disclosed that WAMCO, the (West African Milk Company) was working with the state government and it has put up some equipments on the site already to make the grazing reserve functional.
Governor Sani Bello assured that the state government would provide amenities including electricity, potable water supply sources, security outposts, health care centres and schools for the children of nomads at the grazing fields communities.
Government according to him would soon embark on sensitization campaigns to enlighten the locals on the benefits of the grazing reserve as well as the need for them to stay put and ensure peaceful, cordial relationship amongst themselves within the community and allow the investors to do their businesses.
He explained that the involvement of the federal government in the project was to galvernise interest and spur patronage by Fulani herders so as to transform the reserve to a better place for their stay and consequently find a more lasting solution to the frequent faceoff between farmers and herders.
He therefore cautioned District Heads, community leaders and other indigenes of the area to stare clear of all the government’s gazetted land areas or any form of encroachment within the territory of the land just as he warned them against selling any portion of the gazetted area.
While asking all farming families squatting on any of the portions of land gazetted by the state government as the grazing fields to vacate from the land, governor Sani Bello said the state government was determined to make the Bobbi grazing reserve a model in the country.
“That is why we have resolved to revoke all the allocations made hitherto of any portion of the land. Any part of the lands sold out of 30,000 hectares of the gazetted land, is hereby revoked” he declared.
Earlier, the Special Adviser on Development Finance to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN), Anthony Ifechukwu had disclosed that no fewer than four investors had so far indicated interest in developing the Bobbi Grazing Reserve.
He acknowledged that the 30,000 hectares Grazing Reserve was well situated and he commended the state government for taking the bold step to actualise the project.
A representative of WAMCO, Stanley Obiakor, said his company was confident that the Bobbi Grazing Reserve would be a worthy investment for both the herdsmen, the state and the country at large.
Part of the projection for the Bobbi Grazing Reserve is to transform the place into a hub milk centre. The state government would go into partnering with private firms to establish the first indigenous Milk Centre in Nigeria at the grazing reserve.
It is also being planned to be the largest flock grazing area where varieties of cattle feeds could be produced both for local and export markets, provide permanent settlement area for herders which would be equipped with modern facilities such as clinic, police outpost, school for nomads among other things.
By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna