Question: As a Professor of Veterinary Medicine, what is your take on the issue of ranching? Why is it difficult for the Federal Government to adopt ranching as a means of animal husbandry in the country?
Prof Saror: I think it is political because the President and the Federal Government know very well, because they have all the studies available with them that, you need ranches to be able to produce and expand your livestock population; and the simple technology to produce a ranch is that you identify a place, fell down the big trees, plough, you harrow, you plant the grass that you want to plant and you water it and allow it to mature, allow it to seed, give it two or three years for the grass to grow fully so that the cattle will not finish it up. The technology is there. To get water to supply in the ranches, you can make small dams or sink boreholes it’s easy.
They are using the herdsmen as a political tool. Regrettably herdsmen have become a political tool by the present APC-led government to expand Fulani settlements all over the country for what reason I don’t know. We had been very stable in Nigeria, there has been freedom of choice, freedom of religion and all the religions have been prospering depending on the appeal they make to people. You don’t have to go and impose ethnic a minority in a place that you are growing livestock, no.
Let’s develop the land that is available for ranching that is not good enough for other things. So they are using herdsmen as a political tool at the detriment of the lives the people in these areas and because these people come for their own religion, they are also seen as a religious problem to other Nigerians.
Miyetti Allah is a Fulani socio-cultural and political organisation and they have a lot of money. They have access to government at every level, both states and federal. Majority of Emirs and governors in Northern Nigeria are of Fulani extraction so they can easily support what is happening in the country; but nobody is interested in the expansionist approach they want to adopt which is unfortunate.
- Excerpts of Professor Daniel Saror’s interview with New Telegraph newspaper.