Sunday, 21 January 2018

Cattle colonies strange to us, Oyo govt says as PFN, CAN, others reject the establishment

The Oyo State Government has said the Federal Government proposal of cattle colony is strange to the state, adding that it would not allow “a form of cattle rearing that encourages the animals moving around and infringing on other people’s rights.”

The Commissioner for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, Oyewole Oyewumi, who said this in Ibadan, added that the state recognised ranching as a form of rearing cattle.

He said, “As a policy of the Oyo State Government today, we encourage ranching over any other methods of cattle production and development.

“We have heard talks about grazing reserves and recently about what they call cattle colonies.

“They sound very strange to us, especially in the issue of cattle colonies and I think the idea is being mooted by the Federal Government, so we await further explanations as to what cattle colony is.

“But the underlying thing for us as a state is that having our cattle in an enclosed area for control purposes is very critical to us.

“So, if the cattle colonies envisage a situation where the colony consists of an enclosure, no matter how large, where the movement of cattle are controlled, we may look at it; but if it has to be an open area where cattle will be allowed to just walk around in a free range, I don’t think the Oyo State Government will be able to accommodate that.

“That is our position and that is where we stand on the matter.”

Oyewumi said the state government had a bill before the House of Assembly which would regulate the activities of herdsmen.

Also the Chairman, Southeast Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Dr. Cosmas Ilechukwu, has, in strong terms, rejected the concept of establishing cattle colonies in Nigeria.

Ilechukwu, the former Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria, Imo State chapter and General Overseer of the Charismatic Renewal Ministries International, who spoke for PFN and CAN, added that cattle belonged to individuals and not the entire nation.

“It will be a gross abuse of office to take over people’s landed property and give to a group of others for their private business,” he said.

This is the high point of a 12-line communiqué signed by Ilechukwu and issued at the end of the CRM Annual Leaders’ Retreat held in Owerri, on Sunday.

The communiqué, which aligned itself with the position of CAN, nevertheless stated its support for the anti-open grazing bill of the Benue State Government and urged other states to adopt same.

Similarly, it advised all cattle owners to adopt ranching, which it said is a standard practice globally.

It, however, condemned what it described as “genocidal and ethnic cleansing attacks” on several villages in Benue, Kaduna, Adamawa and Taraba states.

Categorically, the communiqué stated that the “barbaric killings” in Benue State, among others, were carried out by well-trained Fulani militia, armed with sophisticated weapons, with Christians as their primary target.

It said, “They are not herdsmen. The herdsmen we have known over the years do not carry sophisticated guns.”

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