The Senate has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to direct states on the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), which is aimed at establishing ranches and eliminating open grazing.
The upper chamber of the National Assembly also berated Governors negotiating with bandits, saying such negotiations were fuelling banditry.
The Senators stated these on Wednesday February 10, 2021 during an extensive debate on a motion by the Deputy Senate Leader, Ajayi Boroffice, on the growing insecurity in all parts of the country.
In its reactions, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria supported the lawmakers’ suggestion for the establishment of ranches.
But the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, and its northern counterpart, the Arewa Consultative Forum disagreed on governors negotiating with bandits.
Recall that the Federal Government had in 2019 earmarked N100bn for the NLTP, which was conceived to settle nomadic herdsmen.
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, during the inauguration of the NLTP at the Gongoshi Grazing Reserve in Mayo-Belwa Local Government Area of Adamawa on September 9, 2019, had said, “It is a plan that hopes to birth tailor-made ranches where cattle are bred, and meat and dairy products are produced using modern livestock breeding and dairy methods.”
According to him, seven pilot states for the scheme are Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa, Taraba and Zamfara.
On Wednesday, the Senate said the plan would prevent farmer-herder conflicts and activate highly productive livestock sector in Nigeria.
It also called on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led regime to immediately embark on an operation to eliminate proliferation of firearms.
It called for the immediate enforcement of the laws against illegal possession of firearms by arresting, disarming and punishing anyone in illegal possession of arms.
It stressed the need for governors to re-invigorate rural governance and convene state-wide inter-communal conclaves and dialogues to promote local conflict resolution and inter-ethnic harmony.
The Senate also asked Buhari to direct the National Security Adviser and the newly nominated service chiefs and the Inspector- General of Police to devise a proposal to rejig the nation’s security architecture.
It stressed the need for the deployment of forces for more effective counter-measures against the current security challenges, particularly in the rural areas
The red chamber urged the security agencies to actively deploy drones and helicopters in monitoring forests and ungoverned areas in Nigeria, to identify illegal camps of bandits.
The Senate lamented the constant invasion of Nigeria by armed herdsmen from foreign countries and urged the Federal Government to adequately equip the Nigeria Immigration Service and the Nigerian Customs Service to police and monitor the borders.
It also called on the Federal Government to resuscitate and inaugurate the National Task Force Commission to combat the proliferation of light weapons, small arms and ammunition.
The Senate admitted that the ECOWAS protocols that guarantee free movement of goods and people in the West African sub-region was doing more harm than good in Nigeria.
It therefore called for the review of the relevant ECOWAS protocols in the interest of peace in the country
Govs negotiating with bandits fuelling killings in North West – Senators
In their various contributions, some senators condemned some North-West governors for negotiating with the bandits.
They also said seeking amnesty for the repentant bandits would spell doom for the country.
They reacted to Senator Sahabi Yau from Zamfara State who in his submission, supported his governor for negotiating with bandits.
He said, “ I support my governor for seeking amnesty for repentant bandits. The Zamfara governor is by so doing, protecting the lives of his people.”
But the Senator representing Kaduna Central, Uba Sani, drew the attention of his colleagues to the constant attacks of the state by bandits expecting Governor Nasir el-Rufai to also negotiate with them.
He said the refusal of the governor to negotiate with the criminals when neighbouring states were already doing so, was the cause of constant killings in the state, in recent times.
Sani said, “The bandits have been attacking our communities on a daily basis.
“We have been able to liaise with Nigerian forces, they expressed a lot of frustration on the way neighbouring states have been managing the crisis.
“Our position is that some neighbouring states in recent times have been negotiating with the criminals, which on a daily basis kill our own people, destroy our communities, murder our children”.