Lecture by Oseloka H. 0baze at UNIZIK titled The Political Economy of Cattle Colony in Nigeria.

Excerpts From Oseloka H. Obaze's Lecture for Economic Department , Faculty of Social Sciences at the University Auditorium , Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka

"I am not quite certain that those in leadership positions in our country still place any real value on policy debates and wise counsel.  So, I am slightly dubious on the impact of lectures such as this in shaping public policies."

"We are witnesses to the incremental weaponizing and militarization of Nigeria’s domestic and geopolitical space."

"The Federal and State governments have failed woefully in addressing the proliferation of dangerous automatic weapons within the ranks of pastoral herdsmen. This is a national disaster in the making."

"I believe that solving the herdsmen-farmers conflict, require Nigerians rising above the battle space and seeking solutions that serve common cause."

"It is perhaps, the knowledge and awareness of the wanton violence and killings associated recently with the cattle herdsmen that have triggered the prevailing fears.  One may add to such concerns, the seeming inability of the federal government of Nigeria to live up to its statutory responsibility to protect Nigerian citizens in their homesteads."

"In the hue and cry of the visceral violence and loss of lives and properties resulting from herdsmen-farmers clashes, we have as a nation allowed emotions and fear to drown out proper debate, assessments and evaluation of the cattle economy - a critical component of our national economy, wealth, income generation and employment."

"If the cattle colony policy has created national dissonance, the sources of such dissonance should be obvious. First, cattle rearing are predominantly private businesses and those engaged in it are no different from Nigerians who engage in yam cultivation or motor spare parts trade."

"We must also pause to ask if in the frenzy of rising violence and killings, we have entirely overlooked the added value cattle colonies might bring to our economy, and any contributions it might make to wealth creation and tackling our burgeoning youth unemployment."

"When considered against the backdrop of political agitations for the restructuring of the federation, and in some instances, for the sovereignty of some components parts of Nigeria, the proposal to establish cattle colonies across the nation regardless of the best intentions, assumes a sleek, if not insidious counterbalance to demands for restructuring and indeed, the self-determination sought by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)."

"As we are told, “climate change is not ranked among the five top causes of conflict in Nigeria, namely, tribalism, resource control, religion, land and trade.  But that reality has been altered.”  And here we must ask a critically pertinent questionIs the expansive move of Nigeria’s cattle economy southward inimical to national interest and the nation’s economy at large?"

"The proposal to establish cattle colonies instead of ranches has been rightly or wrongly interpreted in some quarters as an insidious attempt to transplant a high rate of herders along with their families to States where they would otherwise, not be naturally domiciled."

"The national push back against the policy is indicative of deep-seated dissonance occasioned by past grazing reserve failings and prevailing security concerns." 

"If there is stiff resistance to policies aimed at reintroducing formal grazing reserves or cattle colonies – and we know there is— it is perhaps, because policymakers did not diligently study the challenges and pitfalls of previous attempts."

"Representatives of pastoral Fulani, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), though the presumptive beneficiaries of cattle colonies, remain deeply suspicious of government’s commitment and ability to make cattle colonies sustainable."

"Cattle colonies in Nigeria would be attractive if they would alternatively abate or solve herdsmen violence."

" It bears wondering, if the push back against the policy recommendation to create cattle colonies might have been muted, had the recommendation been to create cattle ranches, or alternatively, to create non-settlement federal reserves,where cattle can be allowed to graze, perhaps for a fee.  If that is the case, we might be reacting to semantics and entrenched ethnocentric fears rather than concrete challenges." 

 "In India where cattle are revered as near deities and therefore pricelessthere are no cattle colonies, and human lives are not wasted or sacrificed in honour of or to protect cattle."

"Coincidentally, the controversial cattle colony policy has arisen at a time when there is a broad national campaign for policies that will boost agricultural production."

"The salutary value of the cattle colony economy is at risk of being totally obliterated by the ongoing crisis."

"It is assumed that the cattle industry and indeed ranching, if well-articulated and domiciled will be the exclusive preserve of pastoral Fulani herdsmen.  This is hardly so. Lest we forget, the famous Obudu Ranch in south-south Nigeria at the outset of its establishment had a cattle ranching component, complete with fresh milk and butter production."

"The cattle-human paradox confronting Nigeria does not end there.  What is even more perplexing isthat nations that have more cattle than people don't face the problems confronting Nigeria."

"There are immense benefits from Nigeria’s cattle economy that are not being tapped or even discussed."

"Reforming the cattle industry will confer economic advantages and dispense with cattle grazing, which is antiquated."

"Resort to globally accepted ranching methods as opposed to colonies will offer added value and greater dividend."

"Nigeria spends more than $200 million on milk import every year and cumulatively, about $1.3 billion annually importing dairy products."

"The dairy industry valued at N345 billion, represents the second largest segment of the food and beverages industry in Nigeria,even as 95% of the dairy producing herds belong to pastoralists."

"Presently, because Nigerians consume cow hide known locally as Ponmo,the nation is losing out on the global leather market that is valued at $75 billion annually, from its non-export of cow hides."

"Those opposed to cattle colonies vehemently insist that cattle ranching is essentially private business; while discounting or glossing over that cattle business represents a huge source of employment and livelihood for pastoral herdsmen as well as others engaged in it."

" The crisis in Nigeria’s agricultural sector is traceable to our long fixation on oil as the main foreign revenue earner. The cattle industry and economy suffered decline and neglect as much as the groundnut, rubber, cocoa, palm produce, tin ore and coal industries, which also all lost value as foreign revenue earners."

Lecture by Oseloka H. 0baze at UNIZIK titled The Political Economy of Cattle Colony in Nigeria. Lecture by Oseloka H. 0baze at UNIZIK titled The Political Economy of Cattle Colony in Nigeria. Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, March 08, 2018 Rating: 5

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