The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Audu Ogbeh, says President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to ending the frequent clashes between farmers and herders in the country.
The minister gave the assurance at an interactive session with Nigerian postgraduate students studying in Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR), Netherlands, widely regarded as one of the world’s top agricultural research institutions.
A statement issued by the media unit of the presidential villa, Abuja, said the minister was responding to concerns raised by the students about the security situation in some parts of Nigeria, particularly the clashes between pastoralists and farmers.
The statement said after a guided tour of the centre, Ogbeh also told the students that Nigeria was looking forward to their innovations, learning, expertise and knowledge to address some of the current challenges in the agriculture and food security sectors.
The minister said: ‘‘We congratulate you on coming here to pursue your studies, and we expect that when you get back, you’ll find a different situation in the country because we will need some of you to manage the ranches.
‘‘When you do return, it’s people like you whom we hope we can organise to manage the ranches.
“ There will be water, there will be fodder, and there will be electricity and some accommodation for the herdsmen.
‘‘Believe me, after six months, when the herdsmen realise that this new life is better than roaming through the bush, you will have to force him to leave that place.
‘‘It’s going to be slow, it’s going to be a bit expensive but we must end the crisis. We have to stop it because the crisis is unnecessary. The killings are undesirable.’’
Ogbeh, the Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar, the National Security Adviser (NSA), retired Major-General Babagana Monguno, Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau and Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredeolu of Ondo State had visited the Research Centre for Greenhouses in Bleiswijk, operated by WUR.
The governors and ministers were on the president’s official delegation to the Netherlands.