Khadijat Saidu, Birnin Kebbi
Kebbi state Governor who double as the Vice Chairman of Nigerian Food Security Council (NFSC), has urged Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), African Development Bank and World Bank to help modernize pastoralism in West African countries to become prosperous venture.
Govenor Atikiku Bagudu made the call at the pastoralism week organised by the Kebbi state Government in collaboration with the Region of Dosso in Niger Republic and Department of Alibori from Benin Republic in Birnin Kebbi
He said: “We are urging the ECOWAS, AfDB and World Bank to help us modernize pastoralism in the west African countries.
“Pastoralism is an important west African occupation and we are proud of it as we are proud of farming, and Fishing occupation.
“All these occupations require quantum resources and we must mobilize and modernize those in the occupation to do better and become more prosperous so that the three countries of Nigeria, Benin and Niger Republics will become more prosperous in joining to make Africa and West Africa more prosperous.”
Bagudu, said that the program is holding at time when there was a lot of misunderstanding about the pastoralists across the three countries.
“What the Scriptures described as a noble occupation has been shattered; it was transformed by language use into pastoralism.
“Today, another transformation is taking place wrongly, I believe, into herdsmen and herds communities because many people who are involved in pastoralist activities across the West African countries are innocent – hardworking people who are looking for opportunity to make a living and take care of their families, rather those who exploit them and those who use them to create insecurity in the their countries.
“A gathering like this is an important avenue for further educating people that pastoralism is a very important occupation in West African countries.
“Today, the security challenges facing the countries are confusing; the innocent -verses- no so innocent, therefore, we have a greater challenge to cooperate with each other and educate our people,” Bagudu said.
Speaking earlier, Dr. Paul Ouedraogo, Deputy Executive Secretary of Permanent Inter-state Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), who Commends the efforts of governor Bagudu on pastoralism, urged him to set up team comprising of ECOWAS, Niger and Benin Republics’ representatives to transform negative narrative on pastoralism.
“Based on what Bagudu said, I would like to ask him, to get a team of one or two people coming from ECOWAS, one or two people from the regions just to start things on how to transform the negative narrative on pastoralism.” he urged.
“This is because ECOWAS has trained more than 60 journalists and this is the time now to give them the weapon to work and they can start using it in Kebbi state to change the narrative on pastoralism,” he said.
Ouedraogo, who also appreciated the land mass of Kebbi state, noted that it would be easier for the team to turn their vision to ambition.
“So, let us use it to transform the issue of pastoralism as I and my team are happy to be here and really ready to serve you.
“We are not doing this in the name of Benin Republic or Niger; no, we just want to follow your decision and transform it into regional point of view. So, this is why we are here”, he added.
In his remark, the Deputy Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Abuja, Dr Adeniyi Adedoyin, explained that the workshop was designed to address challenges facing pastoralism in the Sahel region and create a permanent local cross-border consultation framework between the three countries.
“To analyse practical cases of conflicts and the modalities of their management and resolution by the judicial authorities.
“The main results of this first session show the need for creation of a permanent local cross- border consultation framework between the State of Kebbi, the Region of Dosso and the Department of Alibori with at least one annual high-level meeting.
“And establishment of a permanent dialogue between the two main protagonists (farmer/breeder) on the one hand and the technical bodies in charge of conflict prevention and management (magistrates and law enforcement agencies) on the other hand” he said.