Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, has urged Nigerians to support the call for ranching as against open grazing, with a view to checkmating the spate of insecurity and fostering a livestock economy in the country.
Governor Okowa gave the advice while playing host to the National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the President of Nigeria Baptist Convention, Rev. Samson Olosupo Adeniyi Ayokunle who was in Government House, Asaba, for a condolence visit and courtesy call.
He noted that the problem of insecurity in the country has negatively impacted the socio-economic lives of Nigerians, adding that concerted efforts should be made to checkmate the ugly trend, even as he said that ranching will significantly address farmers/herders crisis in the country.
According to him, one of the ways of addressing the myriad challenge arising from insecurity was to meaningfully engage the people in productive ventures through vocational and skills acquisition training programmes.
He also harped on the need for concerted effort to be made to address the issue of unemployment so as to check banditry and other criminality in the country.
“Here in Delta State, we have long realised that the way to go is to find ways of skilling our people, enabling them to acquire the needed skills because everybody cannot get white collar jobs.
“So, beyond vocational trainings, we have placed a lot of emphasis on technical education and we are doing our best that we can to reach out to our youths. We are glad that many of our youths are cooperating with us.
“I am glad that many of our colleagues (governors) in the north now are beginning to show more reasoning towards the development of our nation because they have spoken loudly in their last meeting concerning the issue of open grazing.
“We are glad to hear that because that has been the voice mainly from the south but has been echoed by our colleagues (governors) in the north and I am truly very glad that they have boldly come out to speak about that because we must truly find ways to begin to encourage ranching.
“This is because, in the first instance, if we are able to find ways of having grazing reserves as they are proposing, I believe that the cattle can be fed in such a way that they (the cattle) can grow bigger, they can have more meat and it is more economical and many of the children can be free to truly go to school and be empowered.
“But for those who want to take to the business of livestock farming, they can now be groomed such that they can have more productive live stock rather than the one we get them to trek long distances,” the governor said.
He expressed hope that the call on the federal government to encourage ranching would be considered because it is a way of reducing the farmers/herders crisis.