Delta State governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa,today, urged Nigerians to support the call for ranching as against open grazing with a view to checkmating the spate of insecurity and fostering 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 condolence visit and courtesy call.
He noted that the problem of insecurity in the country was negatively impacting on the socio-economic lives of Nigerians, adding that concerted efforts should be made to checkmate the ugly trend, even as he said that ranching would significantly adddress farmers/herders crisis in the country.
According to him, one of the ways of addressing the myriads of challenges 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, saying that until the level of unemployment in the country was reduced to a reasonable level, the nation may not exit from the challenges of insecurity.
“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 was a way out of reducing the farmers/herders crisis.
The governor reitierated that ranching was a way of actually improving livestock economy in the nation, pointing out that it was in the best interest of all Nigerians because, according to him, it will improve the family income and reduce insecurity in the land.
While saying he was glad that the church was praying a lot for God to help solve the very many challenges bedevilling the country, the governor said “we pray that God will truly hear our prayers because things have really gotten so bad that it is becoming negatively impactful on the common man, the average farmer, those who just have little, they are not guaranteed a livelihood.
“Beyond insecurity, their farm produce is not also secured. So, we have very major issues in this country. We will continue to do the best that we can and we are hopeful praying God that the new set of service chiefs will be proactively committed to ensuring that there is a change of the tide.
Earlier, the National President of CAN, Rev. Ayokunle told the governor that he was in Government House for courtesy call and to commiserate with him on the passage of his father, Pa Arthur Okorie Okowa.
He expressed concern over the increasing rate of insecurity in the country and urged those in government to fasten their seat belts with a view to addressing security related issues in the nation.
The governor also received heads of paramilitary services in the state who paid him a conndolence visit and they included Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).