…Rules out monetary compensation for farmers
…Asks herdsmen to move cattle out of city
Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bello Mohammed, has allocated 35, 485 hectares of land for cattle grazing in the area councils. The minister ruled out compensation for farmers who would be affected by the decision and preferred a policy of co-habitation between the Fulani and the farmers in the designated places.
The administration has been hit with criticisms from different quarters over the image problems arising from cattle rearing that competes with vehicles in the heart of the city center with the high risk of road accidents.
The allocation again raises the contentious issue of resource rivalry, allocating farm lands belonging to farmers as grazing reserves to the cattle breeders, a situation that has led to clashes between farmers and herdsmen resulting in the death of many people across the country.
At a meeting with “Miyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, FCT Chapter, as part of efforts to stop cattle grazing in Abuja metropolis and major entrance and exit highways into the city centre, the minister ordered the herdsmen to move their cattle out of the Federal Capital City as such animals could not co-habit with the residents.
“Bello emphasised that even for safety reasons, cattle should not roam on the streets and highways in the city and this is not because the government wants to prevent cattle breeders from raring cattle in the Territory, a statement from the minister’s office, said.
The statement quoted the minister:“You have to understand that when Abuja Environmental Protection Board says cattle should not roam the city, it is not because they want to prevent cattle breeders from rearing cattle in the FCT. Basically, it is just for safety. It is for safety of your cattle and above all, safety of the citizens.
“In a modern city, it’s not possible for animals and vehicles to move together on the roads because this could cause accidents which in some cases could be fatal, and it is our duty to protect lives and property”.
The minister, who is of the Fulani stock, implored the association to nominate some of their members to serve in the Ministerial Task Team on Environment under the Chairmanship of Squadron Leader, Abdullahi Adamu Monjel to ensure smooth communication between FCTA and the association.
“You can give him some numbers of educated young men in your communities who will be part of some of these committees so that they will be able to communicate,” he added.
Bello said that the FCT Administration had moved a step further to even identify new grazing reserves that will cater for their requirements.
“A total of 33,485 hectares have already been earmarked for grazing reserves to cater for about 7 million herds of cattle comprising of Paikon Kore – 8,500 hectares, Karshi – 6,000 hectares, Kawu in Bwari – 9,000 hectares and Rubochi in Kuje which is 9,985 hectares,” the minister revealed.
Bello noted that the critical issue was compensation for the farmers that are there but assured that his administration will work together with the National Assembly to resolve it amicably.
The minister remarked that the FCT Administration may reach out to the host communities to work out a situation where compensation does not have to be in monetary terms because of the large expanse of land involved.
“Nothing should prevent the communities that are there and the Fulanis living together because you don’t always have to move people away,” he stressed.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the FCT Chapter of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Malam Yahaya Isah promised to continue to interface with the government to promote peaceful co-existence.
He assured that his association would enlighten the members not to breed their cattle on the streets and highways of Abuja.