The Federal Government has said that its planned policy on grazing reserves across the country is purely an economic issue which has got nothing to do with religion.
It said the policy when implemented will guarantee the availability of beef and meat and thus end the country’s current import of milk amounting to the tune of $1.3 billion per annum adversely affecting its trade balance.
The Federal government however noted that the mounting opposition against its policy proposal on grazing reserve came from the misunderstanding that it is out to take peoples land and hand them over to Fulani herdsmen to graze.
The Minister of Agriculture Chief Audu who state this in Yola on Monday evening after a town hall meeting to raise awareness about the government’s policy, also added that, the government’s objective with the policy is to ultimately address an economic issue which has been overlooked.
But has the potential to increase the country’s production of meat and milk through the modernization of cattle rearing in the country, adding that it would also improve country’s trade balance.
At the end of the town hall meeting the Adamawa state commissioner of Agriculture Hon. Ahmadu Haruna Waziri announced that Adamawa state government will be allocating 15,000 hectares for grazing reserves and cattle ranching in the state.
Waziri who spoke against the prospect of opposition to the state government allocating such a huge parcel of land said it was inconceivable.
“The government does not envisage, clashes being spurred by its decision since the reserves will be established far away from the farming populace and part of it on already existing gazetted grazing reserves.”
Audu who bemoaned the opposition of the government’s grazing reserve policy especially by Southerner’s, noted that some have even gone off the limit of decorum to define it as an “attempt to islamize Nigeria”.
He said, “I don’t really see why? I don’t think it is a religious issue. I don’t think this is so. It is an economic issue that has created the problem.
“So in that anger people forget that we eat meat. Most of the people complaining eat more meat than the Fulani people”.
The minister said the policy when pursued will ultimately make sure that nomadic life comes to an end while society gets its fair share of the stability which would come the way of the Fulani herdmen to rear his cattles according to modern standards.
“And give us more milk because we don’t have the monies to be buying milk to the tune of $1.3 billion per annum”.
He said the government understood that it must act maturely because its role ultimately is to find solutions to societal problems, adding that there have been positive responses in that regards as a lot of states have expressed willingness to give the government land to grow grass for cattles.
“The anger is there, because people have got killed, but we must maintain maturity no matter what goes wrong you find a solution. If people got killed today, more will get killed tomorrow if we don’t find a solution”.