The Delta state government on Tuesday rejected the federal government proposed cattle colony planned to be established in each of the 36 states of the federation.
The state government said cattle colony is not in consonance with the development needs of the people of Delta, hence it has no land anywhere in the state to be ceded to the federal government for the proposed establishment of cattle colonies.
Speaking on behalf of the state governor, chief press secretary to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Charles Aniagwu, told journalists in Delta that the proposed colony has the colouration of colonisation.
Aniagwu, who spoke during a media dialogue with journalists under the aegis of Indigenous Correspondents Chapel in Asaba, the Delta state capital, said while the state will support the need for co-existence as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution, the state cannot afford to give in to the call for the creation of cattle colonies.
He said: “We have no land for cattle colonies. The word ‘colony’ looks likes colonising. It was fate that made all of us Nigerians and so we must operate on the basis of live and let’s live. Anybody wanting to do business, as far as it is legitimate, he should purchase land as a person and not the federal government doing so for the individual.”
Already, the federal government through the minister of agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, from Benue state, whose kits and kins are being massacred by the marauding Fulani herdsmen, had told Nigerians that 16 states which are yet to be revealed had indicated interest in the federal government’s proposed cattle colonies.
It was further learnt that the colony, if eventually approved in the said states for the Fulani herdsmen, would have good social amenities, schools for the children of the nomads, health centres and good roads within the colonies.
Although the federal government has given reasons for the cattle colonies, the Nigerian people are of the opinion that the colonies if established will have generational harmful effect in the states where it will be established.
They cited states like Kwara which is predominantly a Yoruba speaking state is being ruled by an emir following the conquest of Ilorin by the Fulani jihadists, hence they dethroned the traditional rulers and established their authority in Ilorin, the capital city of Kwara state.
Many are of the belief that the call for the colonies is a subtle drive to install Fulani emirates in the states which hitherto are not Muslim dominated states.
The fear is predicated on the fact that the people will bring their culture, their religion and systematically conquer the states with little or no resistance from the indigenes since their existence in the states is backed by law.
In the interaction, the governor’s spokesman dismissed claims by some groups that the state governor had planned to sack some commissioners from the state executive council.
While dismissing with a wave of the hand, he said: “As you heard, so also I heard but I must tell you the responsibility of appointing and firing lies in the hands of the governor. He has the secretary to the state government to issue statements. But for this there is nothing like that.”
On the staement made by former governor of Edo state, Adams Oshiomhole, during the campaign in Benin city, that he would install APC government in Delta and sack Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Aniagwu said Oshiomhole’s statement is not politically criminal.
He said he did not accuse the state governor of under performance, noting that he only said he will bring broom to Delta to install APC government.
He said: “Nigeria is a democratic state. He has right to his opinion. Some opinions are bitter but we must allow them. But know it that we are not losing sleep because of that.”