In bluntly clear language, Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, Tuesday questioned President Muhammadu Buhari’s ‘cattle colony’ policy for herdsmen, as he rejected the policy for the Niger-Delta state.
“In the first instance you know that Delta State is possibly half of water, half of land. So, obviously we are in need of land. We don’t have land for that purpose that is the truth, he said.
“But now it is not exactly the same so we are trying to reencourage people to go back to land. So, we need quite some lands, we do not even have enough of it because beyond the waters, most of the creeks and even a lot of land we have within the upland area are also encumbered because of the oil exploration and oil spillages that have taken place in the last several years. So, we won’t have land at all in Delta State, obviously not for cattle colonies.”
“It is a growing state and because of the very coastal areas and most of these coastal areas are not in the best of shape because from the exploitation of oil, most of our lands are destroyed and we don’t have enough arable land and the pressure is now coming because we are encouraging our people to go to the farm. In the past, it was a rent economy, people were actually looking for the money that comes in from oil and subsidiaries of the crude oil economy. ”
“In most parts of southern parts of the country now, we don’t have enough lands for our farms and all the issues we are talking about now concerning agriculture is actually becoming a problem asking people to go into farming because they are not sure when their crops are going to be destroyed.”
“I believe there is enough land within the various northern parts of the country and the suggestion by the Minister of Agriculture at the onset of this administration where he intended to import the fast growing grass that could be used.
“Yes, that could cause some money but there is nothing that is done at this moment in terms of spending money to avert all forms of crisis and all manner of unspeakable deaths that will be too expensive for us.
“Because the killings you are hearing about now, because of the large numbers in Benue and Taraba States, it is coming more and more to the fore, but those killings you find them everywhere. Even as I was here (in Abuja Monday), I got a report that somebody was killed in my state by one of the herdsmen also and I believe that we have pockets of that everywhere.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, had last week, disclosed that everything has been put in place by the Federal Government to establish cattle colonies that would solve the continued herdsmen/farmers conflict in parts of the country.