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In a nation where diversity is perceived as a threat, Kogi and Governor Yahaya Bello have been a symbol of hospitality for the Fulani herdsmen by the state being a pioneering testing ground for the Federal Government’s proposed cattle colony, a symbol I would like to see followed in many other states of the federation in order for us to come together to face the challenge that threatens our daily lives.
Though this step taken by the state government is not without outrage and overt opposition by some people, but I urge them to look beyond party line that positive change can only be achieved in an atmosphere devoid of rancour and acrimony.
Rearing of cattle in Nigeria has become a challenge as clashes between herdsmen and farmers over the use of arable lands for cattle grazing have resulted in commando forms of attack and killings. But ironically, countries such as India, Brazil, China and the United States which boast of the huge number of cattle have never recorded any act of violence regarding the rearing of the cattle. And this is because those countries have devised lasting and acceptable ways of keeping the cows fed and out of farmers’ crops and lands.
The concept behind cattle colonies is to cater for the needs of cattle herders in terms of availability of resources to take care of their cattle while avoiding unnecessary clashes over land and water between them and farmers. This has successfully been done in Pakistan where 27 modern cattle colonies were set up in the province of Sindh at a time, thus making the country the third largest producer of milk in the world with the production of about 40 billion litres of milk annually and the dairy sector contributes about 11% to the national GDP.
Nigeria is in dire need of peace and unity in the leadership quest to find workable solution to its numerous challenges. Therefore, I salute Governor Yahaya Bello for considering it a priority and sacred duty to strengthen the bond of unity that holds our nation together.
We have to be our brothers’ keeper, irrespective of our diverse ethno-religion, cultural and political backgrounds.
God bless Kogi State!
God bless Nigeria!!
– Hon. Yusuf Ahmed Tijani (Damisa)
Member, House of Representatives
Okene/Ogori-Magongo Federal Constituency
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