The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has commenced fight against cattle grazing and roaming in the Abuja city centre.
Ministerial Task Team on Environment under the Chairmanship of Squadron Leader Abdullahi Monjel, has been inaugurated to keep the animals off the streets of Abuja.
The ban on cattle movement in the city came amidst protests by residents that the animals constitute nuisance and threat to lives.
The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, has met with members of the Miyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, FCT Chapter on the matter.
At the meeting held in his office, the minister directed the association to nominate some of its educated young men to be part of the committee.
He reiterated that herdsmen must move their cattle out of the Federal Capital City because there is no way, such animals can co-habit with the residents.
Malam Bello emphasized that even for safety reasons, cattle should not roam on the streets and highways in the city and this is not because the government wants to prevent cattle breeders from raring cattle in the Territory.
“You have to understand that when Abuja Environmental Protection Board says cattle should not roam the city, it is not because they want to prevent cattle breeders from raring cattle in the FCT. Basically, it is just for safety. It is for safety of your cattle and above all, safety of the citizens.”
According to him, “In a modern city, it’s not possible for animals and vehicles to move together on the roads because this could cause accidents which in some cases could be fatal, and it is our duty to protect lives and property”.
Malam Bello said that the FCT Administration has moved a step further to even identify new grazing reserves that will cater for their requirements.
“A total of 33,485 hectares have already been earmarked for grazing reserves to cater for about 7 million herds of cattle comprising of Paikon Kore 8,500 hectares; Karshi 6,000 hectares; Kawu in Bwari 9,000; hectares and Rubochi in Kuje which is 9,985 hectares,” the Minister revealed.
Malam Bello noted that the critical issue is compensation for the farmers that are there but assured that his Administration will work together with the National Assembly to resolve that amicably.
The Minister remarked that the FCT Administration may even reach out to the host communities to work out a situation where compensation does not have to be in monetary terms because of the large expanse of land involved.
“Nothing should prevent the communities that are there and the Fulanis living together because you don’t always have to move people away,” he stressed.
The Chairman of the FCT Chapter of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, Malam Yahaya Isah, promised to continue to interface with the government to promote peaceful co-existence.