The federal government is now working on a ranching plan to prevent conflicts between herders and farmers.
While speaking at a media briefing on the federal government's National Livestock Transformation Plan (2018-2027) on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, said the government will now switch to ranching as the most viable option to put an end to the clashes.
He is quoted as saying, "Open grazing is no longer viable, that's why we're switching to ranching. We will do everything needed to stop clashes between farmers and herdsmen."
He further said, "Marching cattle around is no longer viable. We have to resolve to ranching and ranching in clusters is difficult. We want to assure Nigerians that we want to bring this crisis to an end. These wanton killings have to come to an end."
The National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) is a multifaceted intervention plan which, according to the government, will modernise livestock management in the country and help to achieve improved productivity and security. It covers everything from economic investment to humanitarian interventions, conflict resolution, and strengthening of law and order.
According to the government, all stakeholders have agreed that ranching is the way forward for the management of livestock in country to help it derive maximum economic benefit and prevent conflicts. A Public Private Partnership (PPP) approach will be deployed in the funding of the ranching plan.
Herders and farmers have clashed for years over the battle for resources as roaming herdsmen tend to graze their cattle on farmlands, leading to tension and sometimes violence that leads to deaths of people on both sides.
Ever since herdsmen were blamed for the death of 73 people in attacks launched in Guma and Logo local government areas of Benue State in the opening days of January 2018, hundreds of people have been killed in similar attacks with Taraba and Benue bearing most of the brunt.
The federal government has largely blamed the recent escalation of the conflict on the anti-open grazing laws of both states and the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, recently called for a suspension of the implementation of the laws to reduce tension.
Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, a major supporter of the anti-open grazing law, was present at Tuesday's media briefing in Abuja while Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi, was represented by Joseph Ekumankama.