Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State on Monday says the dialogue method adopted by the state government between herders and farmers had resulted in the recovery of over 32,672 animals from rustlers from 2015 to date.
Masari said that the intervention had also resulted in the demarcation of over 829.8 kilometres of cattle routes across the state.
He made the disclosure while speaking as Special Guest at the 2019 NAPRI Open Day, organised by the National Animal Production Research Institute, held at the institute in Shika, Zaria, Kaduna State.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the lecture is entitled: “Sustainable Strategies to Mitigate Security Challenges in Animal Production”.
Masari said following perennial farmers/herdsmen clashes resulting in loss of lives and property, Katsina State Government established a standing committee on cooperation between farmers and herders.
This according to him, is with a view to curbing the ugly menace of frequent clashes, if not completely eradicate it.
Masari said the committee was chaired by a retired management specialist with members drawn from the Ministries of Agriculture, Local Government, Information and Justice.
Other members, he said, were the Emirate Council, Police, State Security Services, State Security Services and Civil Defense as well as Civil Society Organisations.
He said: “The committee’s mandate includes: intervening in farmers-herders misunderstandings; investigating stock/cattle routes encroachment and their demarcation.
“Others are serving ejection notice on encroachers and instituting legal action where necessary and taking custody of reclaimed animals and screening of claimants among others.
“Through the committee’s efforts over 32,672 animals were recovered from 2015 to date.”
Masari said the state government had also established a Dialogue and Amnesty Committee under the chairmanship of the Secretary to the State Government with members drawn from the Army, Police, DSS and Civil Defence.
Also on the committee are; the State Attorney General, Coalition of Civil Society Organisations, State Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria and Kautal Hore.
He added that other members were representatives of Daura and Katsina Emirates and Chairman All Farmers’ Association of Nigeria and influential representatives of the rustlers.
He said: “This committee engaged the rustlers in pre-arranged interface at different locations, even in the thick forest.
“In the process, many of them embraced dialogue and agreed to surrender their illegal arms in exchange for an amnesty.
“In the end, this efforts culminated in an epoch event on 5th Jan. 2017, when numerous repentant rustlers surrendered their illegal arms to my humble self in Kankara, Kankara Local Government Area.
“The high point then, was the surrender of an AK 47 rifle to me by the notorious Buharin Daji.”
He said the state government had holistically adopted measures to address the twin problem of encroachment by farmers on stock and cattle routes and grazing reserves, as well as encroachment on farmlands by herders.
He said: “In an effort to address the matter therefore, the state government mobilised the Standing Committee on Farmers/Herders Cooperation.
“The committee was tasked it to re-demarcate and beacon all international, state and local stock and cattle routes across the length and breadth of the state, including grazing reserves.
“The first phase of the exercise covering a total of 829.8 kilometers has been successfully completed with 6,152 beacons, and is being monitored by the committee while preparations for the commencement of the second phase are in top gear.
“In all, the State Government is spending N100 million for the two phases.”
Masari added that to further ensure smooth and peaceful environment for both farmers and herders, the state government initiated a bilateral collaboration with neigbouring Niger Republic.
He said: “In the light of cross-border pastoralism between Katsina State Nigeria the regions of Maradi and Zinder in Niger Republic, we initiated a bilateral agreement first with Maradi with a view to fostering livestock management and production amongst our people and ensuring safety for farmers, animals and herders.
“Thus, after series of consultations and discussions at government and committees’ levels, a memorandum of understanding was formally signed by my humble self and the Governor of Maradi in Oct 2018 at Maradi.
“Consequently, with the understanding of the national governments of the two countries, it is now easy for our security operatives to pursue criminals across each other’s border.”
The governor observed that the introduction of Animal Identification and Management Solution in 2016 by the state government had reduced the persistent incidences of cattle rustling across the state.