In Response to Herders/Farmers’ Clashes President Creates Livestock Development Ministry

•Opts for ranching, inaugurates livestock reform implementation committee headed by him

•Names former INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega, deputy and co-chair

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

President Bola Tinubu, yesterday, announced the creation of Ministry of Livestock Development, in a bold move to stop the recurring clashes between herders and crop farmers, which had resulted in the destruction of lives and property across the country.

Tinubu made the announcement during the inauguration of the “Renewed Hope Livestock Reform Implementation Committee” at the Council Chambers of State House, Abuja. 

The president said, “This presents a unique opportunity to delineate and establish a separate ministry called the Ministry of Livestock Development. We will develop the economy, give people the opportunity to excel.

“Our vet doctors can give us the necessary opportunity to rear, crossbreeding, and stop the wanton killings. Even animal feeds is a huge economy.”

He explained that the creation of the new ministry was sequel to the recommendation of the presidential panel on reform of the livestock industry set up in September 2023 to provide long term solution to the constant clashes between crop farmers and herders.

He said, “The far reaching recommendation in their report informed our decision to constitute and inaugurate this Presidential Committee on the Implementation of Livestock Reforms and seize the great opportunity to better the lives of our people, rather than the conflict promotion agenda.

“It is our renewed hope and I believe that hope is here. Trying to see a great opportunity for wealth in a situation that is very conducive. I must mention here that I have discussed in a number of occasions with the governors, the need to seize this opportunity. Let us run with it from here.”

Tinubu said his administration would adopt the recommendation of ranching by the committee.

According to him, “The traditional livestock system must be reformed to add significant and sustainable value to Nigeria’s socio-economic growth and development.

“With all measures available to us, I don’t want us to turn this environment to another talk opportunity, I just want to inaugurate this committee to assure that I am ready.

“I assure you and the Nigerian public that we need to create this economy, seize this opportunity.

“These ranches you recommend, and promote, I will work with it. And, luckily, we have information and technology minister present, too.

“Herds of cows can be identified with chips and be tracked these days. If other technologies are available to us, we are ready to work. As I said from the beginning, with you, all of you, the solution is here and we must run with it.”

The president, however, pleaded with the national chairman of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdullahi Ganduje, to step down as Chairman of the reform panel to avoid giving the newly inaugurated committee political colouration.

He subsequently named former Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, as deputy and co-chair of the committee, while assuming the position as chairman of the newly inaugurated panel.

Tinubu thanked Ganduje for “assembling the best minds and experts to find solution by convening national conference on livestock reforms and mitigation of associate conflicts in Nigeria in February last year”.

The president stated, “At this juncture, I will appeal to remove everything of partisan politics from it, assume the chairmanship of the committee as the president and appoint Professor Attahiru Jega as my deputy or co-chair.”

He appealed to Ganduje, saying, “Just remove yourself so that anything of politics in this environment will be erased completely. This is not about politics, this is about opportunity, this is about our nation.

“So, while I may be absent, Jega will preside and contribute to promote. We’ve solved the problem; we have identified the models for livestock management.”

The president lamented that while livestock created jobs and huge empowerment in other economies, Nigeria had largely not reaped from the numerous opportunities in the livestock economy.

Tinubu further explained that his administration’s initiative to encourage livestock farming was, “First and foremost, to provide impetus to enable Nigeria to finally take advantage of livestock farming, diary product, cold chain logistics.”

He said they collectively offered substantial commercial and economic advantages.

Tinubu added, “We have seen solution and opportunity with this adversity that has plagued us over the years, and I believe the prosperity is here in your hands.

“The dairy industry contributes significantly to nutrition and food security that supplies essential proteins and vitamins through milk and its derivatives, such as chess, yoghurt, butter, and economic advantages.

“Efficient cold-chain logistics are crucial in maintaining the quality and safety of these perishable goods from farm to market, thereby reducing food waste and ensuring a steady supply.

“This sector will boost agricultural productivity, enhance export opportunities and stimulate economic growth by fostering a robust value chain that benefits farmers, processors, herders, distributors and consumers alike.

“The governors are hereby represented, any law that might inhibit the promotion and the actualisation of our objective, the Attorney General is here. Please, give it a priority, and budget and economic planning minister is here, find a budget head for it to grow; and finance is here as well to work hard for the money.

“When you have great opportunity as this, why should Nigeria continue in conflict with the calibre of people that are here?”

At the Inauguration were Vice President Kashim Shettima; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume; and Chief of Staff to the President, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, among other top government officials.

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