By John Shiaondo, Makurdi
Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has backed ranching of livestock saying it is the best method of animal husbandry.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen at the Benue people’s House in Makurdi, Benue State capital, he said though he had not read the law prohibiting open grazing
of livestock in Benue, it is best to keep animals in one location and take care of them to derive maximum benefit.
He said, “I have not read the law, but in our communities today, it is not even in the best interest for others and those who have animals or cows to take them out on legs to graze, this is very bad for the animals.”
“If we can make a law to provide for a settled location to feed the animals or cows, water them and make them a house to look after them, I think this will be better for the animals and the community and the country.”
The former President who was in Makurdi, for a two day Zero Hunger programme, which is part of global mandate of the Sustainable Development Goals, said Benue was already on course in achieving the goal.
He said with the policy being initiated by the federal government and the programmes seen being embarked upon by the Benue state government, all brought together with adequate financing from local and foreign investors
and entrepreneurs in the state, Benue will surely achieve zero hunger.
“Just as I have said, with the policy being initiated by the federal government and the programmes we have seen being embarked upon by the Benue state government, all brought together with adequate financing from local
and foreign investors and entrepreneurs in this state Benue will be the main foods producer in the country.”
“The significance of zero hunger in Nigeria is that by the time we implement the report of zero hunger committee, which will now become the report of zero hunger tomorrow, no Nigerian in this country will go bed without food or without knowing what he or she will eat,” he explained.
He urged Nigerians not to be tired, to be patriotic and work hard to do their best for the country noting, “that our country is not made great is our fault not the fault of God or the country itself”.
“Those who keep singing songs of disunity, whether young or old they are not doing this country any good,” he said.
He commended the policies and steps so far taken by the Benue state governor particularly to improve agriculture in the state and said if the tempo is maintained, Benue will surely remain as leading agricultural state in Nigeria.
Earlier, during a field tour on farms, agro-companies and institutions in
Makurdi, Obasanjo who is leader of Zero Hunger Forum in Nigeria, expressed dissatisfaction with the management of Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi for performing below average.
He said the institution is not doing enough researching, which has resulted to the little impact it has made in discovering latest technologies or ways of improving agriculture in the country, particularly in the north.
He further stated that the school was not also commercialising the items that it had in order to boost its income.
“The aim or purpose of establishing the school is defeated because it is not living up to its mandate of bringing out latest discoveries that could boost agricultural activities.”
“The palm trees in the institution’s farm are outdated and the school did not think it wise to replace them with the improved variety.”
He said that the lecturers do not suppose to embark on industrial action as a result of nonpayment of earned allowance, stressing that the earned allowance was uncalled for.
He said that since their salaries were paid up-to-date, they ought not to embark on strike no matter the circumstances.
Governor Samuel Ortom who also accompanied the former President on the tour, admonished the management of the institution’s farm to uproot the old palm trees and replace them with improved variety to enable them
improve on their income profile.
The former governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Adamu also corroborated that the institution had deviated from its core mandate of making researches that could usher in new developments in agriculture.
According to Adamu, the mandate of the university also included embarking on agricultural activities that could enable it get revenue that it could be sustaining itself.