As the violent clash between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in some states persists, federal government yesterday said it had mapped out strategies to put an end to the trend.
This was the fallout of the meeting presided over by Vice-President Namadi Sambo at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
At the meeting, a technical committee to address the crisis, was agreed to be set up. The decision at the meeting was made known to State House correspondents by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina.
According to him, livestock surge and urbanisation taking its toll on grazing lands encroaching, was responsible for the crisis. In this wise, the minister said the meeting resolved to increase the grazing land from its current 415.
Adesina noted that out of the 415, only 141 grazing reserves had been gazetted while less than 20 had been equipped with resources for the pastoralists. He disclosed that the technical committee has two weeks to submit its report, adding that it would also look into how to improve existing grazing reserves and design a new financing regime for the among others.
The minister stressed that the Surveyor-General of the Federation, Prof. Peter Nwilo, and his team were directed to come up with a detailed map that would show the grazing reserves for proper monitoring.
He said government resolved to deploy the use of satellite imagery to help track movements of animals.
Meanwhile, indications have emerged that the persistent insurgency and Fulani herdsmen's attacks in the North-eastern part of the country is likely to affect the N10 billion Great Green Wall Project (GGWP) in the 11 frontline states.
This came as the Minister of Environment, Mrs. Laurentia Mallam, warned that if nothing was done to stem the tide of desert encroachment in the country, it has the potential of affecting 40 million Nigerians, as well as ravaging agricultural land. At a meeting with Commissioners of Environment from the 11 frontline states, the Kebbi State Commissioner of Environment, Ishaku Daudu, said the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency and the activities of herdsman constitute a great danger to the GGWP.
According to Daudu, "That's very serious; our cattle eat everything that is green, in my state, we have planted kilometres of land under the great green wall programme, in most of the places, cattles have eaten most of the things. So we have a problem with the herdsmen.
Borno State Commissioner of Environment, Mustapha Aminami, also told journalists that, "People are no longer able to stay in one place and earn their livelihood; students are no longer able to go to school; traders are no longer able to stay in one place and sell. So, insurgency has affected virtually everything in my state." He further added that if planting of trees was not done in good time, it would negatively affect the project.
But speaking to the Pan-African Agency for Great Green Wall Project delegation to Nigeria, Mallam said: "There is no doubt the Great Green Wall programme initiated by our leaders will provide solutions to the problems of desertification and many other pressing development issues in our dry lands. It is therefore, necessary to ensure its implementation so as to improve the livelihoods of millions being threatened by the problem of desertification in Africa."
The minister explained that, "in Nigeria, more than 35 per cent of land area of 923,768sqkm is threatened by desertification affecting the livelihoods of more than 40 million people. Nigeria believes that this programme will help to address these issues as well as play positive roles in our fight against the insurgencies being experienced in the northern part of the country," she observed.
While making his remarks, Mauritania's Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Amedi Camara, said Nigeria had a key role to play in sustaining the Pan-African great green wall project.
Camara told the gathering that Nigeria's contribution in facilitating the full take-off of the project across the continent was important to ensure its success.
The Executive Secretary of the Pan-African Agency for the Great Green Wall, Dr. Dia Abdoulaye, said the delegation was in Nigeria to ascertain the level of implementation of the project in Nigeria.