By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA – The Director General, Voice of Nigeria, VON, Osita Okechukwu, has advised the Federal Government to listen to people calling for the creation of a national livestock commission.
Okechukwu said such a commission would address most of the problems confronting the nation’s security and economy because the body would source for funds, establish cattle ranches across the country, generate over two million jobs directly and indirectly in the first one year, and boost food production.
The chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), who said this while briefing journalists, on Sunday, noted that the government’s investment in ranches was a sure path to development.
He said Nigeria ought to have overcome its security challenges and developed far more than it has done under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, saying the proposal of the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, for the establishment of a pastoralist commission would help the country to address current threats to its corporate existence.
Okechukwu explained that if the country created a livestock commission, it would rescue the nation from the brinks of failure.
He said, “May I commend Abubakar Malami, SAN, the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation (HAGF) for his idea of setting up Pastoral or Livestock Commission nationwide.
“Methinks, it is a pragmatic community-oriented solution, aimed at diffusing, cushioning and stopping the intractable menace of Farmers-Herders crisis in our dear country.
“It properly defines the Farmers-Herders Crisis for what it truly is – National Security Question. It is a National Security Question because it had polarised and divided the country more than any other issue since after the civil war. It has more or less rubbished all the good works of President Muh Buhari, GCFR and profiled him negatively.”
Asked about the appropriateness of federal government funding herders when they are private business, Okechukwu, said: “The query of the appropriateness of the federal government funding herders, who are private farmers, has not deflated the need for the creation of livestock commission
“Let us note that the herders have dangerously disrupted crop farmers, and on the other hand farmers have rustled cattle, before we count the uncountable lives lost, the polarisation of our dear countrymen and unnecessarily as daggers are drawn.
“The farmers-herders crisis is a National Security Question, which has placed our dear fatherland in a cliff-hanger and therefore, as a matter of urgent national importance, must be contained.”
Okechukwu regretted that the menace has subsumed the achievements of President Buhari in agriculture, railway revolution and other infrastructural projects.
Reminded that what Malami proposed was a pastoral Commission not livestock, he said, “I prefer Livestock Commission. Please consider the substitution of name to Livestock Commission in line with the change of syntax, not meaning.
“For a careful analysis of the minister’s speech shows that he moved far away from just addressing Farmers-Herders Crisis from purely theoretical perspectives often devoid of reality and synchronization with stakeholders to a national security question.
“My submission is that the proposal is more or less in line with the National Livestock Transformation Plan promulgated in 2018. And a cursory glance at the table below shows that we have abundant and arable land nationwide.
“All we need do urgently is promulgate Livestock Commission, source for fund and establish cattle, goat, sheep, pig etc Ranches across the country. In the next two years, any cattle roaming the farm will be considered an enemy.
“My study shows it will employ over two million in the first one year directly and indirectly. It will produce more meat, more milk and make more money.”