As part of measures to avert more bloodshed and communal conflicts between herdsmen and local farmers in Nigeria, the authorities in Nigeria is set to establish cattle colonies in 16 of Nigeria’s 36 states.
The states signed up to be part of the cattle colonies proposal of the federal government of Nigeria as a solution to the continuous crisis over grazing land for cattle.
The crisis had resulted into the massacre of 76 people on New Year Day 2018 in Benue State, Nigeria by Fulani herdsmen in response to the Anti Grazing Law signed into law by Governor Samuel Ortorm in 2017.
According to Dr. Olukayode Oyedele, Special Assistant to Agriculture Minister, Audu Ogbeh, more states will subscribe to the plan although. Benue, Taraba and Abia states rejected the initiative because of the huge distrust between the Christian ethnic groups in Southern Nigeria and largely Muslim Hausa /Fulani’s of Northern Nigeria.
The government has emphasized that a cattle colony is a “a place where many owners of cattle can co-exist, be fed well, because we can make their feeds; they can get good water to drink, cows drink a lot of water and we can give them green fodder.”
Government, according to him, will provide veterinary services for the animals and “protect the cows against rustlers.”
“By a special design, we have to make sure that rustlers can’t cross into the ranches and steal cows and walk away.” With each colony comprisin between 20 and 40 co-located ranches.