In a bid to proffer lasting solution to the incessant farmers and herdsmen clash, Niger State government is reviving and expanding the 30,000 hectares Bobi Grazing Reserve in Oro, Mariga Local Government area of the state.
The state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani-Bello disclosed this on Sunday when he paid an unscheduled visit to the reserve , being one of the 23 identified grazing reserves in the state.
The State government decision was said to be in line with the Federal Government proposed solution to the incessant bloody clashes between farmers and herdsmen in some states, a development that has led to lost lives, livestocks, farmland and other properties.
Governor Sani-Bello said a committee of all stakeholders has been put in place to interface with the Fulani herdsmen on the reserve, reassess the exisiting delapidated facilities on ground with a view to recommending repairs and expansion of the reserve to cater for minimum one million ruminant animals.
He also directed the Commissioner for Lands and Housing to immediately put in measures to revive the grazing reserve by taking the coordinates of the grazing reserve, reassess the structures and other features on ground to enable government revive and expand grazing reserve.
The Governor who noted that the revival of the abandoned grazing reserve will help in preventing further clashes between farmers and herdsmen, recalled that, “our forefathers foresaw a situation of conflict among us that was why they provided us with grazing reserves over 50 years ago”.
He said the already existing structures and other facilities in the area will be renovated and refurbished and more facilities will be put in place to ensure that the gazetted area functions well.
According to the governor, “We have some structures on ground and I am sure those ones can be easily renovated. There are also schools and I believe they will need more facilities because we are expecting more herdsmen.
“We will need more grazing areas and we will need to develop grasses. We will also need milk collection centers and veterinary services to be provided on the grazing reserve”.
Governor Sani-Bello said the state government is considering the enforcement of cattle tax system for security purposes, adding that the tax regime will help in monitoring those who reside within the grazing reserve area.
“We have to as part of our program put in place the system to monitor and one thing we are considering even though we have not concluded yet is the tax system. The tax system is good even for security purposes and that will allow us to monitor who and who resides within the grazing reserve. ”
He warned those using part of the land for farming to desist from using the area gazetted for the grazing reserve in order to avoid the clash between them and herdsmen.
“I don’t expect any farmer here. I have just been told that there are some farmers who are here illegally. So if there is any farmer here, I have just given instruction that notice should be given and they should know that this is strictly a gazetted Grazing Reserve”.
Earlier, the officer in charge of the Grazing reserve office, Mr. David Sado told the governor that past administrations have abandonded the reserve since 2006 the federal government handed it over to the state.
He explained that Bobi grazing reserves consist of over thirty thousand hecters of land, divided into seven blocks with about 700 households and six earth dams, solar powered and motorizef boreholes and 5 pasture blocks
Bobi Grazing Reserve was established over 50 years ago and was handed over to the state government in 2006.