The Federal Government is working with state governors to rediscover the cattle routes that were in existence during the First Republic as part of measures it considers will end the clashes between farmers and herders in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari stated this in Abuja on Friday when he received a delegation of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Buhari said the routes were clear of farmlands back in the years.
The First Republic ended in 1966 and over the years, communities have reclaimed their lands for farming and other purposes, including residential accommodation.
Calls for a return to the grazing routes or the provision of lands for grazing reserves have been met with stiff opposition by communities and land owners across many states lately.
Some states already have anti-open grazing laws in operation.
But, the President disclosed on Friday that he was indeed in talks with governors to rediscover the First Republic cattle routes as a solution to the clashes.
“Before the Benue and Taraba crises, I called the Minister of Agriculture (Chief Audu Ogbeh) and the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, and asked them to work with the state governors on rediscovering the gazetted cattle routes, clear of farmlands that had made for peace during the First Republic”, statement by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, quoted Buhari as telling the MACBAN delegation.
The President appealed to herders and farmers to remain peaceful, while a solution to the clashes was being sought.
Buhari also said the clashes were neither religious nor ethnic, saying that all Nigerians, irrespective of their religious or ethnic leanings, could live harmoniously.
“I appeal to all farmers and herders for restraint, mutual respect and tolerance for one another as people destined to live together in this great country.
“I appeal for patience and understanding as the administration works towards lasting solutions to these conflicts”, he stated.
The President added that climate change was a major cause of the clashes and frowned on what he believed was the attempts to politicise the killings.
“Whatever it will take, I am determined to bring peace between farmers and herders. I urge you all to be patient and exercise restraint while we are working for an enduring solution”, the statement quoted Buhari further.
The leader of the MACBAN delegation, Alhaji Mohammed Kiruwa, told Buhari that the visit was to formally endorse him for a second term.