The Katsina State government has expended a whooping sum of N200 million in demarcating grazing areas and cattle routes as part of effort to curtail herdsmen and farmers clashes in the state.
The state government has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Maradi State government in Niger Republic on the movement of cattle and herdsmen as well as the tracking of cattle rustlers and other criminals within the two countries.
Governor Aminu Bello Masari, who disclosed this in an exclusive interview with THISDAY on Monday, said the state government has completed the demarcation of over 905 kilometres of cattle routes in eight frontline local government areas hitherto bedevilled by banditry.
He said: “We have so far spent N200 million in demarcating the grazing areas and cattle routes. The last phase of the exercise will be done in Southern Katsina around Sabuwa Local Government Area.
“By the beginning of dry season, we are going to kick start the programme again and if the repentant bandits see us rendering some of these services to them, they will have more confidence in us as a government.”
Masari added that until this known issues are resolved, no measure would be able to stop the ugly situation in the country, hence the decision of the state government to re-demarcate and beacon stock routes across the state in order to prevent the clashes.
He affirmed that government was determined to ensure peace and unity between herdsmen and farmers and appealed to traditional rulers to take the necessary measures to recover the grazing reserves and identify cattle routes from those who have encroached on them.
According to him, the ugly trend started some decades ago but most states failed to take necessary actions to stop the takeover of the grazing routes and reserves which were adequately provided even during the colonial days.
The state government had in 2016 inaugurated a committee on settlement of disputes between farmers and herdsmen under the chairmanship of Alhaji Abdulaziz Lawal.
The committee has so far recovered over 30,000 cattle from rustlers and handed them over to their rightful owners.