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Senator Victor Umeh
“A Colony is the territory of the Colonizer”
-         Senator Victor Umeh, representing Anambra Central Senatorial District

Since Senator Victor Umeh was sworn into the Red Chambers on the 18th of January, he’s been quite vocal on key national issues, leaving no one in doubt that he is there to give his constituency and Anambra State a quality and exemplary representation within the short stay his protracted legal battle has left him.
Paul Nwosu, editor-in- chief of Anambra Times sought his views on the controversial proposal by Federal Government to set up Cattle Colonies around the country and he bluntly bared his mind as usual.
We bring you Senator Umeh, undiluted. Please read.
I don’t like when people live the source of an illness and begin to prescribe drugs.The idea of thinking that establishing cattle colonies around Nigeria will solve the problem is playingthe ostrich. I have historically analyzed this issue before. I said that Nigeria as a country from inception has been endowed with different things by God, naturally.From the geography that I read as a student, I knowof animal husbandry and crops that grow in Nigeria;and it was clear to me that nature designed what we should do in different parts of Nigeria.In the Eastern region we are known with palm produce, which was what drove the economy of the old Eastern region.Nobody spoke about palm produce from the North. God didn’t create palm produce to thrive in the North.In the Western region they had cocoa. God created cocoa to do well in Western region. Nobody talked about growing cocoa in the Northern region.We talk about groundnuts, hides and skin from the North. And you know hides and skin come from cattle.So God gave the North cattle to rear; gave them grass were the cattle can graze.So cattle are supposed to be reared in the North.  At that time the regional economies thrived on the things they have comparative economic advantage - things they can produce and all the things we had in Nigeria were built with these regional products.Everything done in Western Nigeria both the education, Cocoa House in Ibadan, first television house in Nigeria, they were all built in Western region with income from cocoa.So, why should we not encourage our people to concentrate on those activities God endowed them to live with.”
“The idea of migrant cattle rearing is a new thing.Cattle were being sent down to the east through the railways, through coaches. Growing up in Umuahia we would always stay and count the number of coaches passing with cows. Then, they were bringing cows to the south with railway coaches. But today, somebody will march cattle from Sokoto to Port Harcourt.That is primitive; it is not the right way; even before it wasn’t like that.So, in answer to your question, migrant cattle rearing has created security crises in Nigeria because somebody has left his home land to another person’s home land to do his business instead of staying in his home land and which nature has naturally endowed to support his business. So they should keep their cattle in the North and embrace modern agricultural practices all over the world.They haveto practice cattle ranching there.America today is the largest producer of beef in the world.Have you heard of this kind of thing there? No!They have ranches and when you rear cattle in ranches you produce healthier cows and better meat. It is because of lack of concentration to God’s given endowments that we see these things. Cattle are a major source of wealth. If they were doing cattle ranching in the North they would have been able to establish meat processing industries in the North and export beef, not only to other parts of Nigeria, but globally. So, government doesn’t want to do what they are supposed to do. Maybe, it is for one sinister purpose that they move their cattle and run into people’s territories, destroy things so that somebody will speak out and he or she would be branded one thing or the other. I dare say that the idea of migrant cattle rearing is primitive and is uncalled for.”
“The government of Nigeria should restrict the activities of same agricultural practices to where God naturally placed them to take place so that everybody will have peace.We eat beef here and every part of Nigeria needs beef, but it doesn’t mean that you must come and produce the beef or rear the cattle in my territory for me to eat it. Produce it there, people will come and buy from you. That’s the way global trade is done.So, to attempt to create cattle colony say in Anambra State, ( I am happy that our State House of Assembly has out lawed it because we don’t even have land)is not the solution.The solution lies in doing what is right and government knows what is right.
“By the way, do you know what a colony is? A colony is the territory of the colonizer.When Nigeria became British colony, Nigeria was being administered by Britain from the United Kingdom. Nigeria became the territory of the United Kingdom.So, if you bring the cattle colony to Ishiagu in Ebonyi State, that will be the Fulani colony and the activities there will be controlled by the Fulanis leaders.I heard they came from Futajelon in Guinea. People should know when they are encroachingon other people’s territory.This is business; we don’t need to add to the existing national tension and mutual suspicion.Peopleshould stay in their territories, take advantage of the natural resources God has given them, produce them, make money and thenexport to those who need their products. This goes for the North with their cattle, East with their palm produce and West with their Cocoa. The South-South that produces oil, now want to own their oil and pay royalty to Nigeria but they are saying they cannot do it,yet God put the oil in their land and put cattle, groundnut and cotton in your land.Why can’t you go and develop those things you are endowed with. That was what we meant by physical federalism which some people branded resource control.We must go back to doing the basics. In American, all the States are known for one thing or the other.They concentrate on those things they have comparative advantage to do and contribute their quota to national wealth, and they are known with that.Some are known with producing tomatoes only and they have turned it into money making business. They grow tomatoes, establish tomato factories, can them and export them all over the world and they live by it. Here, nobody wants to live with what God has given him.They are looking for where cheap money comes. Because oil is flowing, people will stay in Abuja and decide who gets it. Those things will not work.We have to think deeply and eliminate those things that cause conflicts. How can somebody march down 1000 cows, get in to a community and kill 73 people.One million cows are not worth the life of an individual. God created heaven and earth and everything there, including that cattle before God finally created man and gave him control over everything God had created including cattle. Then because you are shepherding cattle, you go and waste human lives, 73 in a single swoop and it became a daily occurrence.It doesn’t make sense. So, I am against cattle colony.
  
QUOTES

“America is the largest producer of beef in the world. They have ranches and when you rear cattle in ranches you produce healthier cows; you produce better meat”

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