The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh yesterday paid a site visit to the massive Bobi grazing reserve, sitting on a 31,000ha land in Mariga Local Government Area, Niger state.
The grazing reserve which is undergoing a comprehensive development plan by the state government is targeted at helping to solve the lingering crisis between crop farmers and herders.
On a guided facility tour, the Honourable Minister inspected the veterinary clinic, the pasture pilots, a primary school built for the children of the pastoralists community and one of the nine dams within the grazing reserve amongst others.
Speaking during the visit, Chief Ogbeh described the state government’s commitment to the project as commendable, “Niger state is leading the way for states’ participation in finding lasting solutions to the lingering crop farmers and herders crisis. We are happy to work with the state to mainstream this into our National Livestock Transformation Plan”.
The Minister stated that the Federal Government is interested in working with only states that are willing to key into the livestock development plan and will never take anyone’s land. He added that any state that wishes to participate in the programme is free to do so at any time and the same support would be extended to them.
“A policy framework that discusses all of the issues that cause the conflicts has been developed. If we can resolve these issues that cause the conflicts, then we would solve the problem. The conflict is about resources of land, pastures and water. This is in addition to these resources being limited today by our increasing population growth and desertification that is affecting the availability of land for agriculture”.
“We are only interested in state governments that are ready to be part of the National Livestock Development Plan. Some of them have written to say they have lands for livestock breeding but we are not just going to accept any land, it has to be a land that is gazetted as grazing reserve”.
Let me reiterate that the Federal Government of Nigeria is interested in working with only states that are willing to be part of the livestock development plan. No one’s land will be taken. Any state that changes its mind can always join in and will have the government’s full support”.
The Honourable Minister Visited one of the three primary schools established within the Bobi grazing reserve in Niger, to educate children of the pastoralists in their different settlements.