NEF Demands Grazing Reserves As Tinubu Plans Livestock Ministry

President Bola Tinubu has hinted at creating a new Ministry of Livestock Development to, among many benefits, curb decades of gory clashes between herders and farmers.

He also inaugurated the Presidential Committee on Implementation of Livestock Reforms, expressing readiness to implement recommendations on ranching and other livestock reforms to enhance the economy.

The President, who chairs the committee, also appointed a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Mahmud Jega, as co-chairman.

“This presents a unique opportunity also to delineate and establish a separate ministry called the Ministry of Livestock Development. We will develop the economy and give people the opportunity to excel,” Tinubu said when he inaugurated the committee at the State House, Abuja, on Tuesday.


The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, revealed this in a statement titled, ‘President Tinubu inaugurates committee on the implementation of livestock reforms to address obstacles to agricultural productivity.’

Tuesday’s meeting follows months of deliberation since the National Livestock Reforms Committee first recommended the creation of a “Ministry of Livestock Resources” to Tinubu last September.

Former Kano State Governor and Chairman of the All Progressives Congress Chairman, Abdullahi Ganduje, who led the delegation at the time, said the new ministry was one of 21 recommendations tabled in a document submitted to the President to enhance the Federal Government’s holistic response to the lingering cases of bloodshed.

The document spelt details of the proposed solutions where the committee advocated a reform agenda examining conflict mitigation and resource management.

“This agenda should include the establishment and resuscitation of grazing reserves as suggested by many experts and well-meaning Nigerians and other methods of land utilisation.

Committee’s agenda

“Create the Ministry of Livestock Resources in line with practice in many other West African countries. In the alternative, Federal and State Governments should expand the scope of existing Departments of Livestock Production to address the broader needs of the industry,” the document read.

According to a PUNCH report last August, Nigeria’s farmer-herder crisis, which is more pronounced in the North-Central zone, has lingered for over two decades, claiming over 60,000 lives since 2001.

Desert encroachment in the north has forced nomadic herders to move southwards, seeking greener pastures for cattle. This has resulted in a stiff struggle for resources with farmers.

But Tinubu said implementing livestock reforms would address obstacles to agricultural productivity and open up new opportunities that would benefit farmers, herders, processors, and distributors in the livestock-farming value chain.

He stated, “We have seen the solution and opportunity with this adversity that has plagued us over the years, and I believe the prosperity is here in your hands.

“The dairy industry contributes significantly to nutrition and food security that supply essential proteins and vitamins through milk and its derivatives such as chess, yoghurt, butter and economic advantages. Efficient cold-chain logistics are crucial in maintaining the quality and safety of these perishable goods from farm to market, thereby reducing food waste and ensuring a steady supply.

“This sector will boost agricultural productivity, enhance export opportunities and stimulate economic growth by fostering a robust value chain that benefits farmers, processors, herders, distributors and consumers alike,” he said.

However, President Tinubu emphasised that implementing the reforms would require the collective efforts of committee members drawn from the public and private sectors, state governors, and all Nigerians.

He states, “From here, I will appeal to everyone to remove every iota of partisan politics from this. I will assume the chairmanship of the committee as President and appoint Professor Attahiru Jega as my deputy or co-chair.

Tinubu advises members

“This is not about politics; this is about opportunity. This is about our nation. While I may be absent, Jega will preside and continue to promote our objectives.”


The President noted that the traditional method of livestock farming would need to be reviewed and repositioned with the support of stakeholders, which include state governments, in order to open up new opportunities for growth and prosperity.

President Tinubu said the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Lateef Fagbemi, would ensure the removal of all legal obstacles to the implementation of the reforms, while the Minister of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijani, would provide support with automation.

He stated, “Modern technology is available to us. We are ready to work. I said at the beginning, with you, all of you, the solution is here, and we must run with it.

“Any law that might inhibit the promotion and actualisation of our objectives, the Attorney-General is here, please give it a priority; and the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning is here; create a budget for it to grow, and the Minister of Finance is here as well to work out the money,” the President stated.

Tinubu thanked the former Governor of Kano State, Ganduje, for assembling the best minds and experts to find solutions by convening the National Conference on Livestock Reforms and Mitigation of Associated Conflicts in Nigeria in February last year.

In his remarks, Ganduje thanked the President for taking further action following the submission of a report on livestock reforms on September 28, 2023.

“We will surpass your expectations and bring succour to Nigerians,” he promised.

While applauding President Bola Tinubu over plans to establish a Ministry of Livestock Development, the Northern Elders Forum said Federal and State Governments should urgently identify suitable lands across the country and create grazing reserves and cattle routes.

Describing it as a “welcome development,” the Forum’s Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, told one of our correspondents in Kaduna that the proclamation of a National Policy on Grazing and Livestock Development to cater to the needs of all the pastoral communities everywhere in the country is also necessary.

He added that the government should consider creating a National Pastoralist Commission to address matters affecting the well-being and interests of all citizens whose livelihoods depend on livestock rearing.

Suleiman observed that since successive governments had created structures such as OMPADEC, NDDC, Ministry of Niger Delta, and the Amnesty Programme for the South-South, it should not be difficult to establish a National Policy on Grazing and Livestock Development for herders.

He argued, “I think the creation of a ministry of livestock development with the mandate to provide sector-focused solutions to address the age-long farmers-herders crisis announced by President Tinubu is a welcome development, though belated.

“The Northern Elders Forum had long before now canvassed for this and other government interventions that could be effective in checking the lingering conflict.

“It should, however, not stop at that. The Federal and State Governments should immediately identify suitable lands across the country and create grazing reserves and cattle routes, and where resistance is shown, to expropriate such land as may be required for the purpose through resort to extant provisions of the Land Use Act and other related laws.”

Suleiman called on the FG to “immediately proclaim a Special Intervention Initiative through the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Ministries of Finance, National Planning, Agriculture and Water Resources, for supporting special livestock development policies and the establishment of special funds to support pastoral communities along the lines of the Anchor Borrowers Programme and other types of Federal Government interventions.”

Meanwhile, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria has expressed excitement over the Federal Government’s plans to create a livestock ministry.

MACBAN declared that the ministry, through livestock production, would become a foreign exchange earner for Nigeria, stressing that it would also reduce the farmer/herder conflicts and its related security challenges nationwide.

This came as the All Farmers Association of Nigeria also commended the President for the initiative but called for the speedy implementation and takeoff of the new ministry.

MACBAN lauds Tinubu

When contacted to speak on the new livestock ministry, MACBAN President, Othman Ngelzarma, told one of our correspondents that pastoralists in Nigeria were so elated with the development.

He said, “MACBAN expresses its deepest appreciation to the Federal Government for creating a ministry of livestock to unlock the trillion-naira livestock economy and create qualitative and productive jobs across the value chain to improve the Nigerian economy. With this development, MACBAN believes the hope of the Nigerian pastoralists is now achieved under the Renew Hope Agenda.

“The promise made by President Bola Tinubu to raise the productive capacity of the Nigerian agriculture sector to ensure food security is being fulfilled. We, as an association, have for years been agitating to actualise the creation of a stand-alone ministry to modernise the livestock production system in line with global best practices.

“We assure the Federal Government of our support and commitment to ensure that livestock production is turned into a foreign exchange earner and reduce the farmer/herder conflicts and its related security challenges. The Nigerian pastoralists appreciate this historic development and will definitely reciprocate this great gesture.”

On his part, the AFAN President, Kabir Ibrahim, welcomed Tuesday’s announcement, cautioning that farmers will not cheer yet until the ministry is fully operational.

“It is a very welcome development because the livestock sector has been neglected for a long time. But I think it is premature to start celebrating because it is one thing to have a presidential inauguration and another thing to set up the ministry.

“It means to divide this current Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, and then set up the machinery and give them legislative powers so they will have a portion of their own.

“When will it take off? What is the budget? So, let us get a clearer picture because the President can make a statement; he is the President. Therefore, let’s wait and see how it goes before celebrating. However, it is a welcome announcement on the creation of a livestock ministry,” Ibrahim stated.

However, the Middle Belt Forum took a different view of the proposed Ministry of Livestock Development saying it was not enough to sustainably resolve the decades-long farmers-herders crisis in the country.

MBF said, instead, it would take a regulatory body and deliberate action by the government to stop the criminal elements from carrying out deadly attacks on innocent Nigerians, mainly farmers.

In a phone interview with The PUNCH in Jos, Plateau, on Tuesday, the National President, Mr Bitrus Pogu, said, “If the reason for creating the Ministry is to stop clashes, I think it is wrong because all of these attacks and killings that are happening have nothing to do with conflicts between farmers and herders.

“Farmers have never connived at any given time to go and attack herders, but rather, criminals who happen to be Fulani gang up and attack farmers, kill, maim and chase them out of their ancestral homes.

“Then, the Fulani will come and occupy them. So, it is more about invasion, criminality, and terrorism. And the majority of those they hire to do these evils are not even those who have cattle. So, a deliberate action has to be taken by the government against the perpetrators, which will address the criminality.”

He also observed that ranching would be a better way to go “rather than the present situation that has been creating problems for us.

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