By Stephen Ubanna
President Muhammadu Buhari’s plot to arm-twist the governors of the 36 states of the Federation to donate land for Fulani herdsmen to use as their cattle ranching appear to have hit the rocks in several states, particularly the south east. Buhari, who was working through Audu Ogbe, minister of Agriculture and Rural Development may have suddenly realized that it is a mission impossible that he has resorted to using force and bail- out funds to the states to cave in.
Ogbe , who has the ear of the Katsina state born President had dropped hint of establishment of a Cattle colony across the country. The minister was optimistic that the establishment of the colony will save the country from the incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers. The calculation that was said to have been given to him to embark on the Campaign for establishment of cattle colony across the country was that there could be hundreds of ranches within a colony.
Given Presidential support, he was said to have asked the states for an average size of the land to be donated to be about 5,000 hectares. This is based on the calculation that about 30 – 40 ranches can be within that area and each ranch keeping about 400 Cows. The minister disclosed that there are about 19 million Cows in the country.
The Magazine learnt that only two states out of the 36 states of the Federation have so far shown interest to provide land for the Buhari Cattle Colony project. Many believe that Buhari is rushing the Cattle Colony project as he fears that if it is not achieved now that he is the President and Commander -In -Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria , it may never be achieved in the country.
Nnia Nwodo, President General of the Ohaneze Ndigbo, may have spoken the mind of the Igbos when he declared that the south east are opposed to the provision of Cattle colony under any guise. guise. Given the Presidency emphasis on the establishment of Cattle colony across the country at all cost, the south east were said to have met recently to take a stand on the issue. The governors were said to have towed the foot -steps of the Ohaneze Ndigbo that ”no land in the south east geo-political region would be given out to the Fulani Herdsmen for ranching.
Given an insider information to the governors meeting,Dave Umahi, governor of Eboyi state and Chairman of the south east governors Forum reassured the Igbos that they have no cause to worry as they have agreed that ”ranching would not be allowed in the region”. The governor confirmed that there have been increased movement of Herdsmen from one state in the south east to the other in the recent time with the resultant effect of destruction of farmlands.
Despite the importance of the meeting by the south east governors to discuss a topical issue, such as donating land in the south to Fulani Herdsmen for their Cattle ranch project, Rochas Okorocha, governor of Imo state was conspicuously absent.
Many believe that he absented himself from the meeting because he would not go along with the decision of the other south east governors and the Ohaneze Ndigbo to oppose the establishment of a Cattle colony in the south east. The Magazine learnt that Buhari had so much brain-washed him to support the Cattle ranch project that he had promised to donate land whenever need. He may be dillydallying in going ahead with the donation of land for the government Cattle colony pet project because of the spillover effect.
Many see the Buhari led led government plot to establish Cattle colony across the country as part of the Islamisation of the country. His recent statement that it is better for the states to donate land for the Cattle colony project bear eloquent testimony to his Islamic agenda. He has made it clear to those that care to listen that it is better to donate the land for the government pet project than the killings being witnessed in different parts of the country, particular, Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Nasarawa and Zamfra states.