Niger State government has said the Northern states have the potentials to accommodate the federal government’s Ruga settlement plan.
Ruga settlements are conceived by the federal government to address the incessant clashes between farmers and herders in the country.
In an interactive session with newsmen on Monday in Minna, the Secretary to the Niger State Government (SSG), Ahmed Matane, said: “the North had the largest land mass in the country with greater portion largely untapped.”
He added that Northern state governors, in collaboration with the federal government, should put the land into judicious use through the Ruga settlement initiative.
He said the initiative could look at the possibility of reactivating the structures already put in place by the defunct Northern Region government through the many grazing reserves that abound in the North.
According to him, most of the reserves had been gazetted with already developed structures but abandoned.
Matane added that they should be rehabilitated and upgraded for use, pointing out that the ongoing discontents over the proposed settlement were needless.
He said, “Bringing the nomads together would end the conflict thrown up by the struggle for space. The Ruga initiative would lead to development and enhancement of livestock value chain.”
“Livestock development is a big business. The value chain is enormous and will attract huge foreign exchange for the country. Leather alone is a multimillion naira business and in the ongoing diversification drive of the federal government from oil to agriculture; livestock subsector could be the key flagship,” he explained.
The SSG said Niger State had already taken the lead through the rehabilitation of the 45, 000 hectares Bobi Grazing Reserve in Mariga local government area.
According to him, the present administration, under the leadership of Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, would expedite action towards promoting pasture development for Pastoralists at the Grazing Reserve.
He explained that the settlement of Pastoralists at the Grazing Reserve would turn nomadic Pastoralists into mixed Farmers who will take up crop farming to supplement livestock farming.