I suspect all this agitation for secession will abate drastically if the National Assembly passes this Animal Husbandry Bill tomorrow

Ayo Akinfe

[1] Nigeria currently has about 20m head of cattle. We should aim to double this to at least 40m by 2022 through an ambitious programme of industrial production, aggressive ranching, the provision of veterinary services and the provision of security for livestock

[2] Every state government that is interested in providing land for livestock production should be encouraged to do so. We will then seek to build secure ranches there with accompanying veterinary clinics, police stations, food processing plants and animal feed compounding units. All cattle herders across the country will be made to take their herds to these secure ranches. We will also tag every animal so we can ascertain its health status and monitor its progress through the food chain

[3] As every ranch will have a fully equipped police station, all herdsmen will be disarmed as from July 2021. They will be asked to submit their weapons to the nearest police station and it will be illegal for non-security personnel to carry forearms. The state is supposed to have a monopoly of the use of force in a nation. Possession of an automatic weapon like an AK47 will attract a minimum jail sentence of 20 years

[4] Our agriculture ministry will aggressively woo foreign investors into our livestock industry, pushing for joint ventures between our local herdsmen and Chinese, Australian, Indian, New Zealand and Canadian investors, who have a lot of expertise in the sector. Nigeria will provide the land, our herdsmen will provide the cattle, while the foreign investors will supply expertise, investment, know-how and technology.

[5] Worldwide, in 2021, very few cattle graze by nomadic means as most ranches feed their cows with special animal feed rations that boost productivity, enhance beef content and provide nutritious balanced diets. We will thus expand our production of animal feed compounds using local ingredients like cassava, palm oil meal, groundnut meal, maize, millet, etc

[6] A Nigerian Livestock Agency (NLA) will be created to oversee this entire process and to manage the local ranches established. Each ranch will have an elected local management committee made of NLA officials, herdsmen, investors, security agents, veterinary experts and animal feed processors

[7] The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (Macban) will be dissolved and reconstituted as the Nigerian Cattle Producers Association (NCPA). Meat processing companies will be encouraged to join this new association

[8] It will now be illegal for livestock to roam unattended in public areas. Wherever such cattle are found they will be confiscated and taken to the nearest ranch where they will be handed over to the local management committee. Owners who want such cattle returned will have to make appeals to such committees

[9] A special compensation scheme should be announced for all victims of herdsmen attacks across Nigeria. The NLA will also establish a standing fund from which it will compensate any farmer who loses crops to herds of cattle in the future

[10] Our ultimate goal is to become a major player in the global beef and dairy trade competing with the likes of Canada, Australia, India, Brazil, the US and New Zealand. As a result, the NLA will look to take out minority stakes in dairy factories, meat processing plants, animal feed compounders and equipment manufacturing plants that are located in Nigeria, creating jobs. Our goal is to create maybe as many as 1m jobs in the sector and generate as much as $10bn in foreign export earnings.