By; BAYO AKAMO Ibadan
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), on Sunday identified government’s active involvement through massive investment in modernised animal husbandry and mechanised farming as the only permanent solution to herders and farmers clashes
SPN in a statement by its National Chairperson Comrade Abiodun Bamigboye pointed out that the face -off between the Federal Government and states Governor over grazing routes ” is a continuation of the crisis created by the ways and primitive manner the operation of cattle rearing is organised in the country.”
According to SPN, ” except there is a radical departure from this crude and profit first approach no measure offered either by the federal or state government will be able to guarantee a permanent solution “, adding, “rearing of cattle across the country today is largely a private business owned by members of billionaire class including those in government and it is run for profit and not to satisfy the working peoples’ needs for meat and products derivable of cow.”
” Government should make provision for grazing reserve for the purpose of averting the scarcity of derivatives products from cow and the farmers and herders clashes. Both the Federal and State governments should prioritise state active involvement in agricultural sector by investing massively in modernised form of animal husbandry and crop production which will include establishments of grazing reserve and ranches under a democratic control of a committee that will involve the elected representatives of herders and farmers”, it said.
SPN added, ” therefore, because of the private motive behind the operation of cattle rearing, most of the owners of the business are not willing to invest on the establishment of either ranches or grazing reserves . This is often conceived with motive to maximise profit.
” Establishment of ranches will mean that the owners will have to make provision for the shelter, for the families of the poor Fulani herders whom they often employ to care for the cow on poor wages and precarious working conditions without right to union and pension. In addition to losing easy profits with little or no cost made through employment of poor herders to drive cattle around, there is likely fear that establishment of ranches may give the poor herder a sense of organising themselves as a labour force. This could be one of the major reason the big business continues to insist on open grazing.”
The party stressed, ” it is important to state that both the open grazing and the plan to reactivate the grazing routes recently pronounced by the federal government are not only barbaric but also not fashionable practice in animal husbandry in the 21st century”.
SPN noted, ” even if the grazing routes are gazetted as claimed by FG though refuted by the state Governors and many Nigerians in legal profession, the truth is that most of the grazing routes created in 60s have been consumed by urbanization”,and that, ” unfortunately, the failure of the successive governments to address the effects of climate change with increasing rate of desertification of the north has continued to force the herders to move towards the South.”
Given this circumstance especially with the unwillingness of most owners of the business of cattle rearing to invest on ranches and reserves, it is most likely that the sophisticated weapons often found in pocession of herdsmen are often supplied by the billionaire owners of the cow business for forceful occupations of farmland to guarantee an avenue of free grazing for the cattle.