Nigeria is currently faced with many problems. If it is not Boko Haram it is the plummeting price of petroleum, or tomato disease, or price of petrol, or unemployment, rape, kidnapping, Niger Delta Avengers, Fulani cattle  or Massob and so on. They are myriad. Fulani cattle and their herdsmen have been problematic for a long time but like a growing cancer they are now an increasing threat to the society. You hear they killed people in Benue today, next day it is in Enugu, then Oyo, then Ekiti. In fact it seems that out of nowhere they are now one of the biggest problems facing the country.
A few weeks ago a member of the national assembly from the south east raised an alarm that there was a bill before the assembly on the issue of setting up a government organ to control the establishment of grazing reserves and grazing routes throughout the federation. A senator from the south east promptly denied it. So did the highest Igbo man in the senate. `No such thing!’ they said. But lo and behold, there is such a bill! Worse than that, while there was this noise about budget padding, the government had inserted a provision for a huge sum to be spent on grazing reserves. The `honourable’ members from the south in the national assembly were like mice, not even a whimper! But like a pregnancy that must sooner or later yield its baby, a sum of N940,000,000.00 has been passed in the budget for the establishment of grazing reserves! Nothing has been said by our `brave and honourable’ members from the south east and south-south! Is it cowardice? Is it temporary amnesia? Has somebody been compromised? The answer is blowing in the wind.
A few weeks ago the Minister for Agriculture was on television saying the president had given him orders to find land for national grazing reserves. I believe he mentioned fifty thousand hectares. He would begin from the north and later come to the south. On television recently he confirmed that eleven northern states had provided five thousand hectares each for grazing reserves! More than that he showed sample of grass he would import for grazing reserves! So Nigeria would spend our dwindling income on establishing reserves and importing grass to plant thereon for the benefit of cattle rearers, said to number one hundred and eighty seven thousand five hundred, most of whom we are not sure of their nationality.  How do we, as a people, benefit? Is the government going to have a share of the proceeds of the sale of the cattle or the business? If we are going to play Father Christmas to cattle rearers what of poultry farmers, fish farmers? Who is going to subsidise them? What happens to tomato farmers? Tomato farms are now being ravaged by a disease. When did the national assembly approve the bill for the establishment of an organ to handle the establishment of grazing reserves or routes? But I assume that the government is confident that our docile national assembly will do nothing.
Is it is true that our Minister of Information said, `herdsmen move from everywhere, from Mauritius or anywhere. You can’t stop them.’? Well, I can be lenient and say the man must have meant Mauretania and not Mauritius. But that is a naïve thing for somebody in that high office to say. It means that we are wasting our time building reserves. Cattle might well be moving on the Third Mainland Bridge or the Marina. Those already grazing in our Universities and occupying our towns and villages should be left alone. After all we cannot stop them.
So when they have established the reserves or routes will the reserves be fenced with iron? Or will our precious cattle be taught where the boundaries are and ordered not to touch the grass outside the reserves even if they are greener? How will we order this river to flow upstream? How will the cattle already in many nooks and corners of southern Nigeria be made to retrace their steps into the reserves?

Having said the foregoing I am aware that there is a provision in the Land Use Act that each Local Government Council is allowed to allocate 500 hectares or more but maximum of 5000 hectares for farming or grazing to individuals without needing the consent of the governor. And there are seven hundred and seventy four Local Governments. And most of them are impoverished. It looks like the federal government will have its way in which ever state it wishes.

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