The National Secretary of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Baba Othman, insists herders and farmers are “victims of politicised narratives of conflicts between partners whose relationship is symbiotic”.
Othman, who spoke at a programme tagged, ‘Stakeholders dialogue’ organised by the National Orientation Agency in Abuja on Tuesday, also said they were ready to accept any government policy aimed at ameliorating their suffering.
The MCBAN chief said herders should accept modern way of livestock production.
On the clashes between herders and farmers, Othman said, “As an occupational association, we welcome any effort by the government to help our members who face multiple challenges in their daily activities.
“We will welcome it under whatever name. Call it Ruga or Livestock Transformation.
“Our association has been in existence for nearly 40 years with branches in the 36 states. We are at the forefront of engaging various governments to see how we can modernise livestock production. The potential of livestock production is enormous in addition to providing millions of jobs to Nigerians.”
He added, “With the Nigerian population expected to reach 250 million by 2030, we must modernise our method of livestock production to improve job opportunities and food security. In the sense of urbanisation, we cannot continue to do things the old way.
“We must also accept that farmers and pastoralists share common fate. Both are trapped by poverty, they are victims of state neglect, they live on the fringes of society where social amenities are obsolete.
“They both have fair sense of injuries, death, displacement and loss of livelihoods. They are also victims of politicised narratives of conflicts between partners whose relationship is symbiotic.”
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Steel, Dr Abdulkadir Mu’azu, said the government had the responsibility to provide for every citizen, warning that peace could be lost if any part of society was neglected.
He said, “For every government, one of the key strategies is to initiate and implement policies that will take care of every segment of the society. Whether you live in Abuja, in a village or in those dispersed small settlements where our nomads live, you are entitled as a citizen to have access to daily support to live as a decent man.
“You cannot expect a country to live in peace if you abandon a part of the population that lives in a small dispersed settlement in the forest without access to water, education, basic health care, support that will enhance their livelihood which is livestock.”
The Director-General of the NOA, Garba Abari, said the programme was aimed at enlightening stakeholders on government policies to enable them to engage policy drivers with a view to eliciting critical feedback and ensure successful implementation.
He said the National Livestock Transformation Plan required the inputs of all Nigerians. [PUNCH]