Herdsmen add to Nigeria’s GDP, can create jobs –Niger gov, Bello
Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, says herdsmen add to the Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product and can reduce the country’s unemployment rate.
He lamented that the much attention has been paid to farmers in the country while the herders were neglected.
The governor stated this on Friday at the Government House in Minna, the state capital, while addressing journalists on progress made to secure the release of abducted students and members of staff of Government Science College, Kagara.
Bello also said he would be meeting with stakeholders at the grassroots to proffer solution to the insecurity in the state.
He said, “I have called for a meeting with all the first class emirs on Tuesday and all the Fulani heads to discuss. Sometimes, we need to understand ourselves to find solutions. May be they also have problems, may be. So, we need to talk to them to read their minds and to understand what their problems are, so that we can address it.
“The truth of the matter is that since independence, no one has paid attention to herdsmen who are mostly Fulanis because not all herdsmen are Fulanis but 90 per cent are Fulanis. Nobody has paid attention to them, no one has paid attention to their education, all we do is we see them on market days, they come and we see them and we laugh. Nobody paid attention.
“So, they were moving from place to place with their cattle being attacked but now the time has come to stop all that practice, it is no longer feasible, there are no longer cattle routes anymore. As long as they move their cattle from different towns, different states, down South, there will be problem because there are no more cattle routes, population has increased, we are about 200 million now, more people are farming.
“We have paid more attention to farmers, all the programmes, all the incentives to farmers, zero to herders. They (herders) also add to the GDP, they also will increase our economy, they also can create jobs if planned very well. So, the time has come to look at them to capture them very well in the system and that must be done for an everlasting peace.”
Of late, conflicts between farmers and herders have topped the agenda in the country. Some herders have been accused of killings, kidnappings, rape, farm destructions, amongst others. Some state governors have also banned open grazing, underage grazing, night grazing, amongst other measures aimed at finding lasting solutions to the crisis but there seems to be no end in sight to the security challenge.