- Says investment not link to herdsmen, locals clashes
Paul Obi in Abuja
The Nigerian Army tuesday said it would soon commence the establishment of cattle ranches across the country as part of the strategic Barrack Investment Initiative Project.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, made this known tuesday at the inauguration of Mogadishu Cantonment New Mammy Market also, formerly known as Abacha Barracks, Abuja.
He explained that the Nigerian Army would be raising up cattle ranches in such a manner that cattle would be reared in all the divisions and brigades.
Buratai who was represented by the Chief of Army Logistics, Major General Patrick Akem, said this was necessary given the need for the army to broaden the scope of its investment drive.
The army chief disclosed that in keeping up with modern cattle rearing tradition, officers of the army have been sent to Argentina to do some feasibility studies on how cattle were reared and the potential therein.
“Argentina has a population of 41 million people, but it feeds about 400 million people around the world with its beef.
“To take it to the next level, we want to adopt a system where the cattle are not just free ranging coming from Sokoto to Port Harcourt, thereby making their meat tough to eat, the products will soon be coming from our own farms and ranches,” Buratai said.
He noted that he had created the Barrack Investment Initiative Project as a platform that affords army family members the opportunity of raising up fishing ponds, vegetable gardens, fruits, livestock, chicken and their eggs.
He maintained that “the intention of the Nigerian Army was not just to secure the country, but to contribute in growing the economy of the nation.”
Burutai said: “We want to tell our wives that they can live beyond the salaries of their husbands, so we are trying to empower the women in the barracks to be able to form co-operatives, so as to access loans and to a large extent be able to fend for themselves and their families, even without the salaries of their husbands.”
Though, the move by the army to venture into cattle rearing might have been seen as a strategy to prevent herdsmen and locals clashes, Director of Army Public Relations, Brig Gen. Sani Usman, debunked such claims.
Usman told THISDAY that, “No I want you to understand that it is part of the Barrack Investment Initiative Project, it is the birth child of the COAS.
“The army wants to encourage families in the barracks to embark on agricultural investment. The army alongside some NGOs is encouraging families to go into farming, like in Ibadan, they are into cassava.
“It has nothing to do with herdsmen and locals communal clashes,” Usman submitted.
Also, Commander Army Headquarters Garrison, Major General John Malu told journalists that the formidable shopping edifice had over 2000 shops, 27 warehouses and a printing press owned by the Nigerian Navy.
Malu stated that the services of a private security firm has been contracted to oversee the security of the market and its environs.