Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, has said that herdsmen can boost the Gross Domestic Product, GDP of Nigeria and can as well reduce the unemployment rate of the country.
The governor disclose this on Friday , while speaking to reporters at the Government House in Minna, Niger state.
Bello decried the negligence been meted on the herders unlike the farmers in the country.
Recently, they have been endless clashes between the farmers and the herders as the latter are been accused of invasion and destruction of farmlands.
This has prompted some governors to ban open grazing, underage grazing and night grazing in a bid to find a lasting solution to the clashes.
Reacting to the developments, Bello said, “I have called for a meeting with all the first class emirs on Tuesday and all the Fulani heads to discuss. Sometimes, we need to understand ourselves to find solutions. May be they also have problems, may be. So, we need to talk to them to read their minds and to understand what their problems are, so that we can address it.,
“The truth of the matter is that since independence, no one has paid attention to herdsmen who are mostly Fulanis because not all herdsmen are Fulanis but 90 per cent are Fulanis. Nobody has paid attention to them, no one has paid attention to their education, all we do is we see them on market days, they come and we see them and we laugh. Nobody paid attention.
“So, they were moving from place to place with their cattle being attacked but now the time has come to stop all that practice, it is no longer feasible, there are no longer cattle routes anymore. As long as they move their cattle from different towns, different states, down South, there will be problem because there are no more cattle routes, population has increased, we are about 200 million now, more people are farming.
“We have paid more attention to farmers, all the programmes, all the incentives to farmers, zero to herders. They (herders) also add to the GDP, they also will increase our economy, they also can create jobs if planned very well. So, the time has come to look at them to capture them very well in the system and that must be done for an everlasting peace.”