Fulani herders
Fulani herdsmen

OBINNA EZUGWU

Fulani group, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has asked the Federal Government to establish a livestock ministry to harness the full potential in the sub-sector of the economy.

National Secretary of the association, Alhaji Othman Ngelzarma, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.

He argued that such ministry had been established in other West African countries, adding that it will help address the enormous challenges facing the sub-sector.

Ngelzarma insisted that a mere department under the Ministry of Agriculture will not be able to address the challenges and allow Nigeria benefit fully from the endowments of the livestock sector.

He listed some of the challenges in livestock development to include; cattle rustling, farmer-herder conflicts, kidnapping, banditry and neglect, especially with regard to demarcation of grazing reserves.

“We are calling on the Federal Government to create a ministry that will squarely address all issues relating to the livestock sub-sector of the economy.

“This is because the magnitude of the problem or crisis faced by the livestock sector is more than the one that can be handled by a mere department under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

“Some of the enormous problems are farmer-herder conflicts, cattle rustling, neglect on the part of the government regarding grazing reserve, banditry, kidnapping, shrinking of Lake Chad that is housing millions of pastoralists and so many other natural and man-made factors.

“We want an agency or ministry that can squarely handle this issue and resolve it permanently being the practice in most West African countries; they all have Federal Ministry of Livestock because of the essence they attach to livestock production.

“It is essential for the government to consider the creation of the Ministry of Livestock independent from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

“Let’s have a livestock ministry so that this entire problem can be addressed by an organisation solely charged with such responsibility,” Ngelzarma stressed.

Ngelzarma also likened the livestock sector as next to petroleum in terms of revenue generation if fully exploited.

“If it can be developed in a better way considering the value chain related to the sector it will create a lot of employment, bring a lot of wealth to the country and to individuals”.

According to him, pastoralists who are the producers of livestock are gaining little or nothing from their products.

“But if a particular ministry can be established and assigned to handle squarely any problem relating to livestock, it gets the deserved attention it requires.