Northern Governors on Tuesday said the Federal Government should provide funding for the establishment of ranches across the region.
The Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Simon Lalong, during an appearance on Channels Television’s News @ 10 said the Governors have been in support of ranching for quite some time.
And, with the rise of banditry – which he said was linked to cattle rustling – and the recent quit notices being bandied across the country, ranching offers the “the only way to control the insecurity,” Mr. Lalong said.
“We were advising the federal government to also give grants to states that are ready with land,” he said.
“We are not saying that it is compulsory for states that are not ready. But many states in the North are ready.
“We need some grants to start so that these people will not be moving here and there. We need to also keep them in one place. It’s business. So definitely, that’s the only way to control the insecurity.”
Lalong, who is the Executive Governor of Plateau State, said all stakeholders, including members of cattle herders associations across the country, were on board with the idea of ranching.
“But there is this lack of funds to the state, there is lack of encouragement to the state,” he said.
For example, Mr. Lalong noted, the Plateau State Government has readied 74,000 hectares for the ranching exercise but needs funding to develop the project.
“When you start restricting people, you must provide alternatives,” he said.
In a related development, Nigerian government spokesman, Femi Adesina stressed that President Muhammadu Buhari’s position on the issue of killer herdsmen is that anyone caught with illegal arms should be arrested and tried. Adesina said this on hours ago while appearing on Channels Television’s Politics Today where he reacted to recent comments made by Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom.
Mr. Ortom had said the President was silent over the issue of armed herdsmen causing havoc across the country.
“If the Governor would say he hasn’t heard the President speak on that matter, that’s what he should make clear; it’s not that the President hasn’t spoken,” Mr. Adesina said.
“Because the number of times the President has spoken on that issue . . . and his position has always been the same: anybody, whoever he is, that carries arms unlawfully should be arrested and prosecuted. The President has said it countless times.”
However, when asked how many herdsmen have been arrested in recent times, Mr. Adesina said “I don’t have that figure at my fingertips . . . but I know that a lot of people are awaiting trial.”
Ranching as solution?
Clashes between farmers and herdsmen have escalated this year, especially in the southwest where quit notices were delivered to people of Fulani extraction.
Kano State Governor, Umar Ganduje, recently suggested that ranching was the solution to the phenomenon of herdsmen moving across the country with cattle.
Reacting to the Governor’s suggestion, Mr Adesina said all suggestions should be discussed.
He also pointed to the Federal Government’s Ruga program, which was rejected by some states.
“Nigeria is a peculiar country where the federal government has no land,” he said. And if states say they have no land for ranches, then another solution has to be found.
“So we need to discuss these things and appraise them critically until we can get to what we can call ‘the’ solution.