Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on Tuesday revealed that the relative peace between farmers and herdsmen in the state was a result of the setting up of a committee on peaceful co-existence between herdsmen and crop farmers in 2014.

He said the need to promote and enhance communal peace and progress among the citizenry in Osun informed his administration’s decision to constitute a committee on peaceful co-existence between Fulani/Bororo and farmers, an initiative which, according to him, has made the state to have zero incidents of infractions between farmers and herders.

Aregbesola who stated this in a speech delivered at the National Conference on the Transformation of Nigerian Livestock Industry in Abuja, said the committee’s mandate of mediating between the herdsmen and crop farmers whenever there is crisis, has contributed immensely to the relative peace being enjoyed in the state which has been attested to by local and international agencies.

Represented by the Commissioner for Special Duties, Mudashir Toogun, the governor said his administration has successfully made agriculture a special vehicle to drive the economy of the state, as an alternative to oil revenue, for development.

According to him, “Osun is today regarded as a model of harmonious relationship between herdsmen and farmers because of the successes recorded by the peaceful coexistence and conflict reconciliatory committee,” the governor said.

“Efforts at conflict resolution have taken the committee round the state severally and, many times, at odd hours of the day, settling disputes and forestalling violence that would have erupted in the state between a community and farmers against the herders.

“Over 5,000 cases had been resolved amicably among the two parties with compensation paid to the affected farmers as unanimously agreed; this has greatly reduced the risks of conflicts and enhanced harmonious relationship among the citizens.”

Also speaking at the event, the Kebbi State governor, Abubakar Bagudu, described the conference as the right approach for putting agriculture on the right pedestal to boost the economy of the country.

He disclosed that many of the prisoners in Kebbi were herdsmen jailed because of clashes with farmers, and therefore called on all stakeholders to support the building of ranches and cattle colonies for herdsmen.

The Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Kelechi Igwe condemned the activities of under-aged herdsmen, who he noted usually reared cattle inot people’s farms and destroyed crops indiscriminately. He went on to call for the political will to address the issue.

Speaking on the theme of the conference, which is: “Transformation of the Nigeria Livestock Industry,” Aregbesola described the conference as timely, “particularly, when the focus is fully set on having a transition from oil dependence to other areas of the economy.”

He said his administration has invested hugely in beef, piggery, fishery and poultry productions, which, according to him, has been found to be a veritable tool to drive his administration’s action plans of promoting agriculture, banishing hunger, unemployment, provision of mass employment and promotion of healthy living.

According to the governor, “Our poultry production in the state of Osun has been tremendously transformed through the Osun Broiler Outgrowers Production Scheme, OBOPS.

“The success of the scheme led to its adoption at the national level. In all our attempts in livestock, our packages usually take cognisance of value addition, marketing and empowerment for the people, especially at the grassroots.

“Having made agriculture a special vehicle to drive our development agenda, we have stimulated the small-holder farmers to produce through a government guaranteed interest free loans and injection of fund.

“In order to further enhance the livestock industry, especially processing, in the state, efforts are on-going, in collaboration with private investor, to put in place modern abattoir complexes in each of the three senatorial districts in the state, in due course, to ensure that wholesome meat gets to our table in and outside the state.

“I am also aware that 60-75 per cent of production cost in the livestock industry goes to feed, therefore, we are working earnestly to put legislation in place to regulate feed mill industry in the state, since whatever gets into livestock comes to our table as food. There is need to safeguard the investment of our farmers in the livestock industry.”

Author: Cerebral Lemon