Tarhav Agerzua, Special Adviser on Media and ICT to the Benue state governor, has said that ranches were the best option at dealing with the incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
Agerzua stated this on Wednesday in Makurdi, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He regretted the incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen, and appealed to herdsmen to ranch their cattle to avoid conflicts with farmers.
He said that lands had not been ceded to herdsmen in Agatu as was being speculated.
Such allegations are far from the truth; the state has neither ceded land to herdsmen nor conferred indigeneship on any individual or group of persons as the reports have claimed.
The decision to allow herdsmen to graze cattle in designated areas in Agatu was jointly made by stakeholders on both Agatu and Fulani sides, who have lived together for many years in Benue.
That decision was not imposed on the people by the government, ” he clarified.
The governor, who has sent an executive bill to the legislature on “Open Gazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Bill”. has pushed for the institution of ranches to eradicate the incessant voilence.
The bill, which seeks to prohibit open grazing, is a product of agreements and discussions between all the stakeholders, experts and members of the general public.
He said that the decision to allow indigenous Fulani herdsmen, who have lived in Agatu land for decades, to graze cattle after the harvest season at the end of February 2017, was made by the stakeholders.
The aide rejected suggestions that the decision was aimed at depriving the local people of their farmlands.
He, however, commended the Federal Government for commencing an investigation to ascertain the whereabouts of N100 billion set aside by the previous administration for the establishment of ranches across the country.