Why we’re deploying over 3000 specially trained NSCDC officials to farmlands, ranches – Spokesperson

By AdvocateNews on 19/07/2019

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The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has said the decision by the federal government to create agro rangers corps will help protect farmers and their investments from attacks by criminals, especially kidnappers.

The Agro-Ranger unit was created following request by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to provide security to the proposed 250 cattle ranches in the country.

The Agro Rangers unit, an initiative of the immediate past ministers of agriculture and rural development, Audu Ogbe and his interior counterpart, Abdurahman Dambazau, is a unit under the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

 

The strategy, it is expected, will forestall attacks on farms and boost farmers’ confidence to work on their farms without fear of attack, thereby guaranteeing the federal government’s avowed food security plans.

Recall that Nigeria has witnessed an escalation of deadly clashes between farmers and herdsmen in parts of Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Niger, Nasarawa and Kaduna, among others, in the last three years. The attacks resulted in loss of lives and farm investments worth billions of naira, thus threatening the country’s drive towards food security. This is in addition to rising cases of cattle rustling and kidnapping.

In his address at the inauguration of the committee at the time, the minister of agriculture had stated that government was in the process of creating cattle ranches and bringing the nation’s cattle together in manageable conditions, a move that would give the government the necessary platform to finally solve the conflicts between herdsmen and crop farmers as soon as possible.

Ogbeh said, “We are hoping that, in the process, the Civil Defence Corps will create a special unit of officers, adequately trained and equipped to protect the communities and agricultural investments against rustlers and prevent cows from leaving the ranches. Beyond oil, we need agriculture as an investment. Grasses, water and vet services will be provided in the ranches and no herdsman will have any excuse to roam. If they do that, then they are breaking the law.

“We will harvest high quality milk and beef for local consumption and hides and skin for export. I urge the committee to discuss this issue seriously and work out the modalities. We need to tell the world that if we invest or invite foreign investors to Nigeria, their investment is secure. The president is committed to the success of this project and the need to end this violence”.

Explaining the decision of his ministry to accede to the request for creation of a unit of NSCDC personnel to be deployed to agriculture investments, Dambazau said his timely response was because the issue bordered on his ministry’s responsibility to secure the lives and property of Nigerians and to protect the country’s agricultural investments.

 

“This duty is directly connected to the ease of doing business and we want to encourage investors to come to Nigeria. We are solidly behind the ranching programme and we’ll provide adequate support to the Ministry of Agriculture to succeed”, the minister added.

However, speaking in an exclusive interview with TNG on Friday evening, the spokesperson of the corps, Emmanuel Akeh said the initiative when fully developed and implemented will help build investors confidence in agricultural business in the country. 

 

“There are people who have spent millions, but they are afraid since this herders/farmers issue started. However, this initiative will give them security coverage and confidence to commence operations in their farms. They are deployed to farms to curtail any form of attack. 

Some have been deployed earlier, while some are undergoing five-month intensive training in Katsina.

 

Commenting on the geographical distribution of the officials, Akeh said: “So far we have deployed officers to North-East, North-West and other areas where their farms are been threatened by activities of daredevil kidnappers and herdsmen. More so, others undergoing training now will be posted to areas not yet covered because they have to ensure that there is peace between the herders and the farmers.

The spokesman further noted that the services of the agro rangers corps will be solicited by the farm owners. “Farm owners will write officially, so that the rangers will not be posted to a place where somebody will say they invaded their farms or they never invited them. Government will take care of their allowances but if someone is working for you, if they ask you to give them water. Won’t you ? Their salaries remain the same, they will only receive allowances for the special assignment just to encourage them to carry out the tasks well because they will be in the bush and other places.

 

Government is working out a means of settlement so that cows will not be seen on the road, where they will be cared for and they will also have a grazing route so that they will not just move anyhow.”

Posted 19/07/2019 9:24:55 PM

 

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