No state in the southern Nigeria has volunteered to provide land to the Federal Government to set up cattle colonies in order to address the incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
It was also learnt that the 16 states that had volunteered to provide land for the establishment of the cattle colonies are from northern Nigeria.
They include Adamawa, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Kebbi, Nasarawa and Plateau.
Others are Bauchi, Gombe, Borno, Jigawa, Yobe, Niger, Kogi and Kwara states.
Further findings from the headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Monday in Abuja showed that while there were dissenting voices in some of the documented states that had volunteered to provide land, the 16 states agreed to provide 5,000 hectares of land each for the establishment of cattle colonies.
Last week, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, announced that the establishment of cattle colonies in the states that had volunteered land would commence this week.
When contacted, senior officials at the agriculture ministry re-echoed what Ogbeh had said that the Federal Government would not force any state to volunteer land for the initiative.
The officials, however, stated that the 16 states from northern Nigeria had been documented as locations where the initiative would start, adding that the government was canvassing support from more states, particularly from southern Nigeria.
Ogbeh’s Special Assistant on Media, Dr Olukayode Oyeleye, and the Director of Information, FMARD, Tolu Makinde, provided our correspondent with various speeches by the minister which extensively explained how the Federal Government planned to go about the initiative.
In one of Ogbeh’s speeches, the minister recalled that early last year, letters were sent to all state governments to know who was interested in the programme.
He said a large number responded, but some said they had no land to give, while 16 affirmed their interest to participate and pledged to make land available for the initiative.
On states that had volunteered to provide land, Ogbeh had said, “We have agreed to work together to create a new culture of cattle rearing different from what we have today. We are told that it is a custom of the herdsmen to be moving around. The current culture of open grazing is posing serious challenges.
“It does not allow harvest of milk, while the yield on milk in Nigeria is one of the lowest in the world, averaging one or half litre per day.”