From Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
The Speaker Taraba State House of Assembly, Professor Joseph Albasu Kunini, has revealed that the late Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello, once moved to put an end to open grazing in the North.
Kunini, who spoke at a two-day multi-stakeholders regional peace building dialogue in Lafia, Nasarawa State, stated that the late Premier administration prepared a document for investors in 1963 that frowned at open grazing.
The speaker further disclosed that the 1963 document titled “The Industrial Potentials of Northern Nigeria” was prepared by the Ministry of Trade and Investment of Northern Nigeria.
‘Research has shown that in 1963 the then Northern Nigeria Government, through the Ministry of Trade and Industry, prepared a comprehensive feasibility studies for potential investors titled, The Industrial Potentials of Northern Nigeria.
‘At that time the regional government frowned at open grazing by the herdsmen; for instance, on page 155 of the 287-page document, the Northern Nigerian Government under the leadership of the Premier and Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, vowed to end open grazing by herders.
The document stated that, ‘for some years the Northern Nigeria Government has been engaged in settling the Fulani and achieved a considerable measure of success.’
The political scholar and entrepreneur was however, dismayed that the proponent of ban on open grazing have refused to accept the imperative of ending the system nearly 60 years after Ahmadu Bello, a Fulani, opted for ranching in the North.
The dialogue was organised by the West Africa Network for Peace-building (WANEP), in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for stakeholders from Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States that are worse hit by herder/farmer conflict to collectively review emerging conflicts, risks and opportunities for collaborative prevention across the three states in the Middle Belt region.