Teams have been drafted to ten pilot states to sensitize cattle herders on federal government efforts to foster lasting peace between them and crop farmers.
Team B from the Federal Government has visited Gombe State, after similar trips to Jigawa and Yobe States.
The sensitization in Gombe took place in Wawa Zange, where the grazing area has been existing since the 1970s, but not well utilized by the grazers, mainly due to a lack of water in the dry season.
The officials from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, along with officials of the two groups and some Gombe State officials, went to the grazing area and informed the herders of the government’s plan to upgrade facilities in the grazing reserves in the country.
The Grazing Area in Gombe has been situated in Wawa Zange, in Dukku Local Government Area of Gombe State, since the 1970s, covering about 50 thousand hectares of land.
However, like other grazing reserves in the country, the cattle herders often travel far into the country during the dry season, most times as far as southern Nigeria, in search of greener pastures for the cattle.
This has often exposed them to problems of encroachment into crop farms, which result in clashes.
Consequently the President Muhammadu Buhari Government felt the need to put an end to the problem, by resuscitating the existing grazing reserves in the country for the herders, whose movement with the cattle will be restricted to the area.
Also in line with this vision, in recent times, various state governments in the country volunteered additional 5 thousand hectares of land to ensure that cattle and herders are comfortable in their grazing reserves.
During the advocacy and sensitisation campaign in Wawa Zange,Gombe State, the Team Leader for Adamawa, Gombe, Jigawa and Yobe, which is Team B, Mr. Mahmud Ibrahim Bello, said the government was planning to equip the grazing areas with facilitiesto make them comfortable in it, such as boreholes for the people anddams for the animals, among others.
“The Federal Government has made many facilities like boreholes, earth dams, access roads, some livestock service centres in some, pasture developments in some. Those are the facilities government did in the past and then now, after a longtime of negligence and then stakeholders also, do not participate in the maintainance of those facilities, so it is all in bad shape.
So now we are trying to mobilise to sensitise the stakeholders to take care of all the facilities the government will be establishing in the grazing reserve or make in the grazing reserve”, said the Team B Leader, Mr. Bello.
Dr. Ibrahim Abdullahi, the Assistant National Chairman of the Miyetti-Allah-Cattle-Breeders of Nigeria, after inspecting the Wawa Zange Grazing Area said “the only facility that I have seen that remains useful here is the school. It’s a very standard school of about six classrooms with the Head Master’s Office, but unfortunately, there is only one teacher in the school, teaching from Primary one to six. He is the Head Teacher of the school; he is the teacher of Primary One, Primary Two, Primary Three, Primary Four, Primary Five and Primary Six. And I think that is not ideal by any standards.
We have seen a Staff Quarters that was established by the Federal Government getting dilapidated and therefore you have to pity the teachers, even if they are available, that their quarters that is supposed to house them is no longer there.
We have also observed that there is no single public health facility in the area.There is no veterinary health facility in the area. And I think looking at the trend today, where the whole world looks up to Nigeria in its campaign Polio and looking at the population of this grazing reserve, I also considering the fact that Gombe Stateand all other states of the North-East region are very high riskstates, in terms of Polio Campaign, I think that is not ideal,” Dr. Ibrahim Abdullahi said.
Also, the National Secretary of the Myetti Allah Cattle Association of Nigeria, Baba Othman Ngelzarma, said the after visiting security agencies and relevant state government officials in Gombe state, that it was encouraging and that the association was working with relevant government agencies to tackle education at the grazing reserves.
“We are doing a lot on Nomadic Education because we have entered into collaboration with the National Commission for Nomadic Education. We currently have a Desk Officer in the National Commission for Nomadic Education. So whatever decision is taken by that commission is taken with Miyetti Allah.
What is bothering the Nomadic Education is lack of funds, but we are very sure now with the coming in of the administration of General Muhammadu Buhari, funds will be provided for nomadic education. So very soon we will also embark on similar thing with the Nomadic Education.
We are sensitising them presently on the need for them to also allow their children to go to schools, because lack of education is one of the causes of the crimes you see among the youths and the lots moral decadence among the Fulanis, is all there, so education is key, is very important, said the National Secretary of the Myetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria.
The Team B Leader of the Grazing Area Advocacy and Sensitisation in Gombe, Mr. Mahmud Ibrahim Bello, said the Federal Government would ensure that all blocked cattle routes were cleared for them, but that the herders should also ensure that they do not encroach on crop farms.
Also, various speakers at the sensitisation programme called on the cattle herders to protect facilities in the area and ensure that they do not cut down trees in the reserve, because they government had plans to upgrade the facilities there.
One Way Bill.
Also during the advocacy and sensitization visit in Gombe State, the team used the visit to launch the One Way Bill.
The Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria flagged off the use of a One-Way-Bill for the transportation of animal and other foodstuffs in the country, as a measure to check cattle rustling in the country.
The National Chairman of the Myetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Mallam Baba Othman Ngelzarma, said in Gombe, during the advocacy and sensitization of crop and pastoralists farmers on how to tackle the clashes between them, that the way bill would check the menace of cattle rustling and check other vices associated with the trade in Nigeria.
Ngelzarma said the Way Bill has already been introduced in Yobe, Jigawa and now Gombe State, as well seven pilot states scheduled for the sensitization program.
He said the way-bill was being introduced in collaboration with the National Union of Road Transport Workers and the Amalgamated Union of Food Stuff and Cattle Dealers Association of Nigeria, would clearly indicate the original point of loading, the number and description of the cargo, the vehicle details and the destination of the load, before it is offloaded at the final destination.