Tension has gripped parts of the middle belt and the south over the continuing killings of villagers by Fulani Herdsmen.
The rampaging Fulani Herdsmen have killed hundreds in Agatu community in Benue State and recent killings in Enugu and Delta States.
The Fulani herdsmen move about in their nomadic manner with sophisticated weapons, they attack their victims in farms, homes, and along the way, killing and raping women.
The Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe in an interview with Vanguard said the herdsmen must be disarmed, immediately.
He said that the federal government has already 5, 000 hectares of land in nine states for ranching to stop cows from moving from place to place.
He said: “We will stop it but again I must also appeal that when we mention that we have to grow huge paddocks for cattle to eat and give them water points and then provide them medical services we received all kinds of abuse from the newspapers and social media.
“People who didn’t know much about what we were saying said ‘oh is it grass we are going to import now?’ Every country imports grass. Even the Camerounians have even offered to sell us grass and grass seeds.
“If your cows are not well-looked after, if the herdsmen have no grass to feed their cattle, they will move and when they move, they will cause trouble. Most of these herdsmen as we know now are not even Nigerians, they are wandering in from Mali, from Chad and some Shua Arabs, all armed with AK 47s in their desperation to feed their cows.
“The truth is and I have been reading things even in the Vanguard not too long ago somebody asked why should we waste money growing grass for one ethnic group and one group of people? What have we done for other farmers?
“We have done a lot for farmers. We have spent money on cocoa, rice, groundnut, we have spent money on tomato and other fruits, palm oil, we are doing researches on these and nobody has really done much for the herdsmen and we have forgotten.
Ogbeh admitted that the Federal Government already has grazing reserves acrosss the country but these ranches are not in use. He added that the cows eat special grasses which needs to be made available in the reserves.
He said: “Yes, we have 415 grazing reserves but our grazing reserves are nothing if we don’t have grasses on them and not just any kind of grass- special grasses. Every other country has special grasses for feeding cattle.
“US, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand all do same. Saudi Arabia has the largest ranch in the world on one farm; Dairy Farm, 135, 0000 cows. They import grass from US, from Sudan they are even asking us if we can grow grass they will buy.
“So we have to create paddocks mainly in the far North because there is a lot of sensitivity about this issue now and people in the south can even grow grass and sell to the north. There is a delay in our budget if not by now I assure you that some two or three hectares should have been planted. We are waiting, we don’t have money yet, so we can do much but as soon as the budget is done, we will show you the fields.”