Olu Falae, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, has slammed the idea of setting up cattle colonies across the country. The former Minister of Finance said the word, ‘colony’ was repugnant and should be jettisoned. He said the Fulani herdsmen should rather be confined to ranches which would be equipped with ammenities needed to feed their cattle.
Falae, who lost produce spanning over 150 hectares, said the colonies sounded more political insisting that states that had cattle rearers should be responsible for running the ranches and not the Federal Government. He said the Yorubas would not allow such ranches be set up in any of its states.
”I will try to contain myself because I am provoked. You know Nigeria was a colony; through the efforts of our leaders, we were able to get the British to leave and we are free. A colony is a territory that is a dependent territory; more or less owned by another nation. Thank God, since 1960 we are no longer a colony.
”In Nigeria, to mention the word colony has political connotation, not economic. A colony is a political entity which someone said he wants to create in the territory of another; that is a provocation; that is a terrible thing for anybody to contemplate. I am sure it was a mistake; I hope my friend Audu Ogbeh will withdraw that obnoxious policy,” he told Vanguard.
”Looking at the proposal itself, assuming other terms have been used, it is unsound and makes no sense.
”The proposal said government will acquire an area in a state and plant grass there for the cattle to feed on. The question I want to ask is: Why must the cattle travel from their ranch to another colony? The ranch across the world is self-contained, because there’s water there, there is processing facilities and you don’t have to march your cattle from one colony to another colony.
”My suggestions that day were that, there are states that are homes to cows, so it is that relevant state government that should carry the burden and not the Federal government.
”I am not saying the Federal government should not assist but the primary responsibility for animal husbandary belongs to the state government. The state government should be made to accept their responsibility by looking at their people and the farmers too should be the responsibility of the state government.
”Let them carve out areas for cattle farmers in those states that are home to cattle and assist them to set up ranches.”