From Salihi Abubakar Bello, Abuja
The recently concluded National Conference on Livestock Reforms and Mitigation of Associated Conflicts in Nigeria opens up another forum not only for regional or state, rather national or continental interest if any cares to continue from where Kano State governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has stopped.
The event took place on February 13 and 14 of this month at the Nigeria Air Force Conference Center, Abuja. It was conducted on challenges of governance, farmers/herders crisis as well as redesigning of the new Naira notes.
The new Naira note policy was persistently suppressing the people of the nation of their freedom and wasting resourceful hours at ATM-facilities and at bank entrances.
It was seen as a haphazard decision of the Federal Government that sends many Nigerians into more hardship and unfortunately at the eve of the general election coming on February 25 this year.
Despite that, Kano state governor, Dr. Ganduje, took the bull by its horn in ensuring the conference took effect and optimistically the desired goals were achieved.
Governor Ganduje had on January 19, this year inaugurated a committee on the proposed National Conference under the able chairmanship of the former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega and the state Commissioner of Information, Malam Muhammad Garba as the secretary of the Organizing Committee, among many Nigerians coming from each of the 36 states as participants and scholars as resource persons at the conference.
It is indeed a tradition at whatsoever conference to allocate the first day to political office holders, religious entities and emirates to come face to face with the participants and resource persons to declare the conference open.
It then followed by comments from various high table personalities, whereas the governor, in company of his deputy, Nasiru Yusuf Gawuna, the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate, have time to do just that and took a number of group photographs with cream of personalities before the conference proper.
The lead discussant at the second plenary session, Prof. Tukur admitted that open grazing and ranching is practiced worldwide, cautioning the leaders to realize that the act is just a feeding methodology not a means of production.
He stated unequivocally that the conference was timely and had huge advantages as well as reminded the organizers that open grazing system for cattle is capital intensive and should be part of the recommendations at the end of the session. He said it requires a 24/7 feeding for the millions of restricted cattle.
Tukur called for a coordinated network of movement of cows and other livestock and to review the policy of crop life system, which has been there for quite some time with a view also to be included in the new drafted document affecting livestock as a result of the ongoing conference.
Another discussant, the CEO, Murtala Nyako, restated that access to market, training and income generating method had to be put into consideration as long the target beneficiaries were to be carried along and the dairy business to prosper.
According to him, there existed over 28 million cows across the nation, with over 10 million cows in the North-eastern part of the country.
Nyako bought into the idea of ranching, which in his personal opinion, is better for the cows to stay in one place (ranching) so as to collect dairy from them on daily basis and cattle owner to generate income.
Prof. Odebode, discussant, said that gender was an important factor in the conference and should be replicated in the recommendations at the end of the event.
She said the role of women in livestock business could not be overemphasized, adding that they perform reproductive role, taking care of the cows and collecting milk from them. She enjoined that women be allowed to participate in the entire livestock production and management. Rotimi Williams, a discussant and a farmer with over 45,000 hectares of land in Plateau State, said he witnessed instances where cows destroyed part of his farm produce.
He said that peace could not be gotten unless inclusion was taken seriously. He said he had reported to UN, EU, NSA, DIA, Army and Police on the herders/farmers fractions that resulted in loss of many lives to intimate them on the development, but yet he could not say whether any concrete action was taken.
Williams described Governor Ganduje’s foresight in organizing the conference as a welcome idea, said it was timely, saying that it must be a priority for the successive leaders as a trend. He said if left unattended, the nation stands to envelop itself in another quagmire of crisis upon crisis, pointing out that the duo may continue to survive nonstop.
A discussant, Prof. Adeyinka A. Aderinto, disclosed further that where there is a will there is a hope, as the willingness of Governor Ganduje showed, in this respect, stood him out among his equals in doing something about livestock production and farmer/herders crisis, which was threatening the very cordial relation between South and Northern part of the country respectively.
He chastised media and security agencies to double up with fear of God to correct the anomalies in the nation’s agricultural sector and its sovereignty from encroachment of the cows of neighboring nations.
Dr. Najib Hussain Adamu, Emir of Kazaure in Jigawa State, a moderator, said that he participated in the past in mapping out cattle route where they were able to select farms and cattle route, grazing route, but unfortunately sight was lost since then, advising for the need to re-engage the initiative.
The Emir, urged leaders to put a stop at holding arms and doing nothing serious towards the crisis, describing the conference as the last to be carried out in its name and topic.
Emir Adamu rhetorically asked participants if any could look at his caliber and the likes of Governor Ganduje, who is a Fulani and branded him bandits.
He challenged the media to be serious in reporting the agricultural sector holistically than a blame game.
The secretary of the Organizing Committee, the state Commissioner of Information, Malam Muhammad Garba, said that Governor Ganduje had since taken bolder decisions in addressing cattle rustling in the state and organizing such a conference to turn the sector around and open a new chapter in farmer/ herder crisis.
According to him, time is not always too short for Governor Ganduje to perform, adding that his expectation of any working around him and for him and is the reason for all and sundry to allocate reserved energy to document recommendations out of the reforms to be part of designing the glorious document of a better livestock business in future