The Niger State Government says northern states have the potential to accommodate Ruga settlements conceived to address the incessant clashes between farmers and herders.
The Secretary to the State Government, Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, told journalists in Minna on Monday that the north has the largest land mass in the country with greater portion largely untapped.
He urged northern state governors, in collaboration with the federal government, to put the land into judicious use through the Ruga settlement initiative.
He said the initiative could look at the possibility of reactivating the structures put in place by the defunct Northern Region Government through the many grazing reserves that abound in the region.
According to him, most of the reserves have been gazetted with already developed structures but were abandoned.
He described the discontent over the proposed settlement as needless, saying bringing the nomads together would end the conflict caused by the struggle for space, adding that the initiative would lead to development and enhancement of livestock value chain.
“Livestock development is a big business. The value chain is enormous and will attract huge foreign exchange for the country. Leather alone is a multimillion naira business and in the ongoing diversification drive of the federal government from oil to agriculture; livestock subsector could be the key flagship,” he said.
He said Niger had taken the lead by rehabilitating the 45, 000 hectares Bobi Grazing Reserve in Mariga local government area, saying the state government would expedite action towards promoting pasture development for pastoralists at the grazing reserve.