The Oasis Reporters
July 4, 2019
Many people in the South of Nigeria look at the political governance in the North, more often than not, led by Fulani politicians, it’s huge underdeveloped landmass, violence driven endless search for fresh land in other parts of the country with attendant conflicts, rising poverty level, out of school children, and simply get the jitters especially when unexplainable policies arise from government.
Uzukwu Patrick Eze says for instance that the reason why the palm oil business is almost comatose in the Southeast is because there are no lands anymore to grow palm trees and that the Mbaise people of Imo State have the highest population density per sq kilometer in the entire world.
Nigeria is approximately 1million sq. kilometers out of which the entire Southeast is just about 30,000 Sq kilometers. The Southeasterners relatively speaking have little or no land to spare in their landlocked enclosure. Therefore even if they would want to donate land for the RUGA venture, there’s hardly any to spare.
On the flipside, Toro LGA in Bauchi State alone is about the size of Enugu state. Toro LGA is 6,900 Sq Kilometers while Enugu State is 7100 Sq Kilometers. Enugu State in land size is the largest State in the Southeast.
Therefore, the quest to squeeze large animals and possibly, emigrants from West African countries in the southern parts of the country is somewhat befuddling.
Cade Agbugba writes that of the estimated 11 million out of school children in Nigeria, 12% (1.3 million) are from Bauchi State alone. The current population of Bauchi State is 5.7 million or less than 2.8% of the Nigerian population
(2) An estimated 127 out of 1,000 children born in Bauchi die at infancy and 80 out of 1,000 die before they are 5 years old.
(3) The rate of incidence of poverty in Bauchi is 86.6% and rate of destitution is 66.3% while 75% of them are children, women and old people.
Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, has alleged that his predecessor, Mohammed Abubakar, spent N2.3bn to buy materials for burial in the state. One would wonder what he spent on the living to stem depressing mortality.
The governor, who spoke through his spokesperson, Dr Ladan Salihu, in an interview with journalists in Bauchi, said the funds were spent between January and May, 2019.
He explained that over N900m was spent on the purchase of white cloth used for wrapping corpses while over N1.4bn was used to buy the wood for lacing the graves after burial.
According to him, the government discovered issues of corruption, venality, daylight robbery of the commonwealth of the people of the state.
Ladan alleged, “ How could you imagine that a state government, within five months, that is, between January and May, 2019, spent well over N2.3bn on funeral materials, dresses for wrapping dead bodies and the woods that you lace the graveyards with.”
There’s no gainsaying the fact Bauchi State, like many others have not translated their huge landmass to wealth in the semi arId Sahel Savannah vegetation of Nigeria, while the search for other lush green lands to conquer for their cows is on, whereas Israel is complete desert that has turned green through human ingenuity.
The same scenario occurs in California. It is desert, with little underground water, yet utilizes it to remain the 8th largest economy in the world, and it is just a state in the United States with an economy dwarfing huge countries in the world.
And guess what, it is an agricultural belt, with one of the biggest agriculture based GDPs in the world.
Californian geography looks harsh, compared to Northern Nigeria that has more ground water which is easier to drill than anywhere else. Unlike California or Israel where getting water is a big deal. It even costs less to drill for water in the north, than say, in Ibadan, South West Nigeria.
It is therefore a travesty for the North to abandon it’s huge agricultural endowments by nature, needing little extra brainwork to seek for pasture down south that is stressed for land.
A video is currently trending online of an Igbo migrant in Zambia who is rearing cattle in his own ranch on a piece of land he purchased, sunk a borehole in, built houses for farm staff and he supplies meat to beef companies. Cows don’t roam in Zambia. Why can’t they do that in the north and enjoy the full benefits of the entire animal husbandry value chain?
Once the north harnesses what it has, the children there would have no reason to go to bed hungry.
Written by Greg Abolo