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Open grazing ban: Wike faces hurdles in FCT as Miyetti Allah talks tough

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As part of his determined commitment to restore Abuja’s standing as the Federal Capital Territory, the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, recently declared the cessation of open-grazing of cattle.

Multiple prior endeavors have been made to reposition Abuja and elevate its global profile.

A persistent challenge has been the noxious odor and unsightly presence of animal excrement strewn across the city’s corners, attracting flies and posing health risks to residents.

The hazards associated with unrestricted open grazing, not only within the Federal Capital Territory, are abundantly clear.

The Atlantic Reporters, in a report, disclosed that Dino Melaye, the former Chairman of the Senate Committee on FCT, had strongly advocated for ending the movement of animals within the FCT. Melaye even directed the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Alhaji Mohammed Bello, to slaughter cows found in the city center. This move was prompted by the continued movement of cattle by herders in the Abuja metropolis, despite multiple warnings from the authorities.

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However, these previous efforts to curb open grazing in the FCT proved unsuccessful. Nyesom Wike has now taken up the challenge.

Just hours after his inauguration, he declared, “I will not hesitate to confront wrongdoers, even if they are influential; I will hold them accountable.” He emphasized that herders can relocate their cattle outside the city but will no longer be allowed to graze on the grass used for the city’s beautification.

The pressing question now is how the Minister plans to relocate herders from the city center while ensuring that they can continue their livelihoods as lawful citizens.

Experts warn that implementing such a policy without providing viable alternatives may lead to challenges similar to those experienced with bans on activities like motorcycle taxis (Okada), street vending, and shop demolitions in Abuja.

They also compare this situation to the removal of fuel subsidies, which was executed without proper consultations and preparations to mitigate its effects.

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A concerned citizen expressed that halting the movement of herders within the FCT is a daunting task for the new FCT Administration, and it necessitates careful planning and consultation with relevant stakeholders.

Wike has taken a more subtle approach in addressing these issues. He indicated that discussions will be held with herders to explore how to put an end to open grazing, emphasizing that cattle cannot be allowed within the city. Herders can graze their cattle outside the city where suitable pastures are available.

The National President of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Baba Othman Ngelzarma, expressed their willingness to meet with the FCT Minister and present their challenges. One of these challenges is the lack of functional grazing reserves, which require development to address open grazing concerns.

However, a sister organization to MACBAN, the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, has a different perspective on the movement of cattle in the FCT and other cities. They assert that it is impractical to uproot herders from the FCT without providing designated grazing areas. They suggest that the focus should be on developing Abuja and providing essential amenities for indigenous populations.

In an interview with Atlantic Reporters, the Director of Animal Husbandry Services in the Agricultural and Rural Development, FCT, Hajiya Umma Abubakar, outlined existing plans to resettle herders in designated areas. These plans include the establishment of grazing reserves, which aim not only to resettle Fulani pastoralists but also to create an environment where they can engage in livestock activities on par with international standards.

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She mentioned that efforts are underway to develop the four grazing reserves in Abuja into economic hubs for both herders and their communities. The FCT Minister and the Minister of State for the FCT are both deeply interested in the settlement of herders in the nation’s capital.

To address issues related to compensation and conflicts between the Fulani and local communities, a comprehensive enumeration exercise has been initiated. This aims to identify genuine inhabitants who will be compensated to ensure that no community members are left out.

Furthermore, the Special Agricultural Processing Zone (SAPZ) Project, co-funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), will contribute to addressing open grazing. The project includes the creation of Agriculture Transformation Centres (ATC) that focus on enhancing the capacity of various groups in livestock value chains, including the production of quality feeds and milk processing. Water will also be provided at these centers to facilitate the fattening of animals without the need for them to move outside the reserves.

Regarding the differentiation between indigenous and migrant herders, the government is conducting regular profiling efforts in collaboration with security agencies and local communities to identify genuine herders engaged in lawful activities.

As for addressing resistance from host communities opposing the establishment of grazing reserves, efforts are being made to engage these communities and highlight the benefits of such development. Livestock activities encompass more than just the Fulani, and crop farmers can also participate in various production activities and benefit from cattle byproducts such as manure.

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The FCT Minister’s plan to meet with all stakeholders is expected to give impetus to achieving the desired objectives. The Minister of State for FCT has also pledged support to ensure the development plans for the four grazing reserves in Abuja are successfully implemented and improved upon.

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FG unveils logo of project dedicated to youth, police collaboration

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On Thursday, the Federal Government unveiled the logo and features of the Young and Secure project, aimed at enhancing collaboration between youth and the police to strengthen national security.

The project was jointly launched by the Minister of State for Police Affairs, Hajia Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim, and the Minister of State for Youth Development, Ayodele Olawande, at the Banquet Hall, Aso Villa, Abuja. This initiative is part of the Renewed Hope Agenda, which seeks to restore trust and renew the hope of young Nigerians in the police force.

During the event, Sulaiman-Ibrahim emphasized President Bola Tinubu’s administration’s commitment to ensuring the safety, security, and prosperity of all Nigerian citizens.

“I am truly delighted to stand before you today alongside my esteemed colleague, the Minister of State for Youth Development, as we unveil the goal of the Young and Secure Project, which is to enhance collaboration between the youth and the police towards strengthening national security.

“It elevates the role of Nigerian youth in the security architecture of the nation, empowering this vibrant segment of society to act as watchguards and active participants in ensuring the safety and security of their communities.

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“The essence of the initiative is rooted in the belief that we are all police, each with a responsibility to contribute to the protection and well-being of our nation,” she stressed.

The minister also praised the resilience and determination of Nigerian youth, despite numerous challenges.

Minister of State for Youth Development, Ayodele Olawande, highlighted the significant challenges in bridging the gap between youth and law enforcement agencies. He emphasized the erosion of trust and understanding between these vital segments of society and the urgent need for proactive and innovative solutions.

He stated, “The Young and Secure initiative emerges as a critical platform to address this pressing issue and forge a new era of collaboration, respect, and mutual empowerment between our youth and law enforcement agencies.

“As we unveil the logo and outline the features of this initiative today, I urge all stakeholders present to embrace this opportunity for collaboration and dialogue.

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“Our success in achieving the objectives of Young and Secure hinges upon the collective efforts of government agencies, civil society organisations, the media, and, most importantly, the active participation of our youth and all other stakeholders in the Nigerian dream.”

DIG Dasuki Galadachi, representing the Inspector General of Police, mentioned ongoing reforms in the police force. He noted that the youth help desk is part of these reforms, enabling citizens to report challenges to the police.

“We have a Post Provost Marshall, Escort, IGP Monitoring Unit, Human Rights Desk, and Police Complaint Response Unit, and with the advent of police community policing and social media platforms such as X (Twitter), Facebook, Instagram, and the youth desk, Nigerians can interface through social media to seek redress for their genuine complaints,” he said.

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Electricity: It pains me Nigeria can’t power one major city – Peter Obi

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Former Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, expressed deep dismay over Nigeria’s inability to provide electricity to even one of its major cities, contrasting it with Tanzania’s achievement of electrifying all its major urban centers. Obi highlighted a World Bank report indicating that while approximately 70% of Tanzania’s rural population has gained access to electricity, Nigeria lags far behind in this regard.

The contrast was underscored by recent news that Tanzania had shut down five hydroelectric stations due to surplus electricity in its grid, a move made possible by adequate power production to meet urban and rural needs. Obi emphasized the need for Nigeria’s government to address and revitalize the electricity sector, lamenting the economic repercussions of widespread power shortages. He cited statistics revealing that 60% of Nigeria’s population lacks access to electricity, as per a 2022 Energy Progress Report.

Obi stressed the urgent necessity for Nigeria to emulate Tanzania’s success by ensuring reliable electricity provision, particularly in major cities across the country. He called for decisive action to reform and rejuvenate Nigeria’s power sector, advocating for competent and dedicated leadership to achieve this critical goal. Ultimately, he emphasized that a stable power sector is indispensable for Nigeria’s progress toward a better future.

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Gunmen kidnap Channels TV reporter in Rivers

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A Channels Television journalist, Joshua Rogers, was abducted from his home in Rumuosi, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State by unidentified gunmen. The incident occurred on Thursday night around 9 pm, as he returned from work. He was reportedly followed to his residence by the assailants who then confronted him at gunpoint, forcing him into his car and driving off.

Rogers, who serves as the Government House correspondent for Channels Television, had earlier covered an event in Ndoni, Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni LGA, where Governor Siminalayi Fubara inaugurated a primary healthcare center donated to the state by former Rivers State Governor, Peter Odili.

The abductors subsequently contacted Rogers’ wife, demanding a ransom of N30 million. Attempts to reach the Police Public Relations Officer, Grace Iringe-Koko, for comment were unsuccessful.

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