Chief Phillip Asiodu has said that as far back as 1971, Nigeria had permission to export beef to Britain and with the plan that was on ground, the ubiquitous herdsmen menace in the country would have been prevented.
Asiodu, retired diplomat, bureaucrat and former Minister of Petroleum, said if the Bauchi Meat Complex project had been sustained and spread across the country, no herder needed to walk more than 50 kilometres to sell his cow and return to base.
The elder statesman, who belongs in the class of Super Perm Sec, said these in an interview with Vanguard.
According to Asiodu, “In 1971, I became the founding Chairman of Bauchi Meat Complex that was started in the First Republic, when the Sardauna of Sokoto was Premier of the Northern Region with UNIDO as Technical partner.
“What did we do? We brought in calves from various places including Mambilla Plateau, fattened them for 10 weeks and slaughtered them.
“We had permission to export meat and meat products to Britain and Europe.
“What is the basis of Australian and New Zealand economy? Exporting of meat and meat products to Britain and Europe.
“If we had continued the Bauchi Meat Complex, and replicated it in a few centres in the North and if today, we had eight of such complexes in the North, would we have the problem about herdsmen?
“Because within 50 kilometres the herdsman can sell his cow and return to where he came from where he will have a home, school for his children, etc.
“We cannot, in 2021, take Nigeria back to the time of Jesus and Mohammed of herders and shepherds roaming over the land wreaking devastation of farms, properties, and human lives.
“Nigeria’s population was 40 million at independence. Now we are over 200 million and the population is still growing at about 2.8% per annum. We must modernise our economy.”