Discordant tunes in states over FG’s N179bn ranches

Share it:

The Federal Government’s decision to create ranches in some states is already causing confusion among the state governments, herdsmen and farmers, according to SUNDAY PUNCH investigations.

Our correspondents, who spoke with governments, farmers and herders in the affected states, report that though several states rejected the plan, some were awaiting further details, while the rest embraced the project for political reasons.

The development has also pitched the herdsmen and the farmers associations against each other.

The Federal Government, last week, unveiled the plan, expected to cost N179bn over a 10-year period, to improve livestock production in the country and put an end to herders/farmers crisis.

Adamawa, Benue, Ebonyi, Edo, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Oyo, Plateau, Taraba and Zamfara states will receive interventions in form of ranches in the pilot phase.

In Ebonyi State, Governor David Umahi vowed to resist any attempt to convert land in the state into a cattle ranch by the Federal Government.

Umahi, who was the Chairman of the Mediation Committee on the farmers/herders clashes, said his panel merely recommended that state governments, willing to embrace the project, were free to do so, through the Anchor Borrowers Scheme.

He said, “FG has not taken any land from anywhere in the country. No state government has been forced to give any land for ranches. There is no land for ranching in Ebonyi State.”

The Benue State government and the leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria have also disagreed over the issue.

While the state government rejected the planned cattle ranches, the herders group said the state government’s resistance might create more problems.

The Miyetti Allah vowed to continue to oppose the state government’s anti-open grazing law, a situation that would lead to further clashes.

Governor Samuel Ortom, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Terver Akase, explained that sections five and eight of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranching Establishment Law of the state had already mapped out procedure for acquiring land for ranches,

According to Akase, the Benue State Government has not repealed the existing anti-open grazing law.

He wondered why the same government would begin to donate land for people to establish ranches.

But the National Coordinator of MACBAN, Mr. Garus Gololo,  said his group was in full support of the Federal Government’s proposal to establish ranches in 10 states including Benue.

Gololo said, “If the Federal Government wants to establish ranches, they are free to do so anywhere in the country but there must be schools, veterinary hospitals and other social amenities as well as shelters where the cows can stay.

“Benue State said it had rejected the Federal Government plan; the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association has also rejected the Benue anti-opening grazing law too.”

The Edo State Government had yet to take any action on the national ranching project as it had not been discussed at the State Executive Council meeting.

The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Monday Osaigbovo, who spoke to one of our correspondents on the telephone, said the state would support the project only “if it is going to be done as it is being done abroad.”

The Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party has, however, advised Governor Godwin Obaseki not to cede any land in the state to the Federal Government to create ranches.

The party’s chairman in the state, Chief Dan Orbih, said the national livestock transformation plan was a subtle way of dispossessing farmers and other property owners of their land.

He said, “Edo people say no to cattle colony. Edo PDP openly rejects the new national policy on ranching.

“It is an attempt to grab our land. No Edo community to date has agreed to give a portion of its land for the purpose of establishing a cattle colony; we say no to the new national policy by President Muhammadu Buhari.”

The Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura, has approved seven grazing reserves in the Awe, Keana, Doma, Assakio, Konva, Gtata and Kurudu local government areas of the state for the take-off of the programme.

There was no official reaction yet from the Kaduna State government on the proposed project as the mobiles of the Commissioner for Agriculture and Forestry, Dr. Manzo Maigari, and the governor’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Samuel Aruwan, indicated that they were switched off.

The Taraba State Government and the leadership of MACBAN have expressed their support for the project, stressing that the project will solve the herders/farmers’ clashes.

In separate interviews with one of our correspondents in Jalingo, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Publicity,  Mr. Bala Dan Abu, and the North-East Zonal Chairman of MACBAN, Mr. Mafindi Danburam, commended the development.

The governments of Plateau and Adamawa said they had embraced the project.

The Zamfara State Commissioner for Agriculture, Lawal Jangebe, told SUNDAY PUNCH that the Federal Government had yet to discuss the project with the state government.

The Oyo State Commissioner for Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, Oyewole Oyewumi, also said the state would provide land for the project in the northern part of the state and that it could be in lease form or the state contribution to the scheme.
Share it:

Latest News In Nigeria

Post A Comment:


We’re eager to see your comment. However, Please keep in mind that all comments are moderated according to our Comment Policy and all the links are nofollow. Using keywords in the name field area is forbidden.
Comment Using Either Disqus or Default Comment Mode.