Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai says anti-open grazing laws signed by his counterparts in Southern Nigeria are unrealistic.
He said ranching was the ideal solution to the farmer-herder conflict but said it could not be done overnight.
In push to stem the killings and other atrocities perpetrated by militant herders, Southern governors had resolved to sign anti-grazing laws in their respective states. Many of the states have since signed the laws.
But El-Rufai, while speaking to journalists at the National Secretariat of the All progressives Congress in Abuja on Tuesday, said his Southern colleagues were wrong.
He also said Kaduna State would require at least N114 billion to establish 14 ranches to fully settle herders and their families.
He said, “The Northern States Governors’ Forum has already taken a position that open grazing is not a sustainable way of livestock production. And we must move towards ranching.
“But moving towards ranching cannot be done overnight. We have to have a plan; we have to have resources and we have to implement it sensibly. It is not a matter of populist legislation or saying tomorrow this or that. It is not a solution. We have taken a position as northern state governors and we are implementing that.
“And in my state, for instance, we are developing a huge ranch to centralise the herders. And that is the solution, a long time. But can it be done overnight? No.
“This project we are doing will cost us about N10 billion. The CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) is supporting us with about N7.5 billion. And it will take about two years to do.”
He continued, “We will be settling about Fulani herder families. And I hope that they will see that there are alternative ways of producing livestock instead of running up and down with cattle going to people’s farms to cause all kinds of problems. We want to solve the problem.
“What is unhelpful to politicise the situation and pass legislation that you know that you cannot implement. So, we have taken a position and we are working round the clock to implement that position.
“These herders emanate from the north and we are going to centralise them. We cannot do it overnight. We need billions of naira. This is just one ranch that is causing N10 billion. I have 14 grazing reserves in Kaduna State and I would like to convince them to do ranching. Do I have 14 times N10 billion? I don’t have.
“If the Federal Government will give me a hundred and fourteen billion naira, I will convert the other 13 into ranches and make sure that nobody comes out with a cow or sheep in Kaduna State because I will have enough ranches to take care of everybody. That is the solution. You can legislate but let us wait and see. And I wish them the best of luck.”