Convinced that most of the herdsmen killing people and destroying farmlands in Nigeria were from neighbouring African states, the Federal Government yesterday said it was taking the matter to the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS).
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, who disclosed this at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T) in Ibadan assured that the issue of the herdsmen would be a major agenda in the next regional meeting.
He said there were plans to ban most herdsmen bringing cows from the neighbouring countries but said it would be done in a way to prevent beef scarcity. The Minister who earlier held a town hall meeting with the farmers and other stakeholders at the House of Chief, Parliament Building Secretariat, said he cried when he visited the Ikere Gorge Dam, Iseyin in Oke-Ogun axis of Oyo State, which has the capacity to provide irrigation to 2.8 million hectares of arable land.
The Ikere Gorge Dam was built 40 years ago with the capacity to generate 3,750 megawatts of hydroelectricity for dam and rural electrification programme and provide irrigation for 1, 200 hectares of farmland.
Ogbeh said at a meeting, which was also attended by Governor Abiola Ajimobi and top government officials, that the time has come to reposition Agriculture as the mainstay of the country’s economy.
Speaking, Ajimobi appealed to the people to change their mentality that hinders the growth of agriculture in the country adding, “People should think of agriculture today for our survival. Let us all work. Let us all do agriculture.
“Nigeria is not a developing country but an underdeveloped one because it cannot feed its people. Millions of people are still malnourished. We should change our thinking and the way we do things.
“We need to restructure our value system. We don’t need only physical restructuring in the country. We also need value system restructuring. The country grows based on the way its people think.”