Stakeholders in Benue State North Central Nigeria have changed their stand on the Federal Government’s National Livestock Transformation Plan which they rejected last week.
The stakeholders drawn from traditional institutions, churches, socio-cultural organisations, the academia and civil society, had earlier rejected the Federal Government’s proposed National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP, describing it as a “round peg in a square hole”.
“It has become necessary to state that the Benue State Government at no time rejected the National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP, approved by National Economic Council, NEC which has the 36 state Governors as members” said Mr. Terver Akase, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ortom.
Mr. Akase noted that “what Benue rejected and still reject are cattle colonies, Ruga settlements and grazing reserves which were neither discussed nor approved by NEC”.
Adopting the Plan
The National Economic Council had agreed that each state would be free to adopt aspects of the plan which suit its peculiarities.
According to the Chief Press Secretary, “In the case of Benue State, we already have a law on ranching and there is no provision in the legislation for open grazing”.
The stakeholders recently met and dissected the NLTP document resolving that the plan had other aspects of infrastructural development from which the state would benefit.
Prominent among the provisions in the document according to the Press Secretary “is the plan for resettlement of those affected by herdsmen attacks and other forms of violence whose property have been destroyed in different parts of the state”.
The position is different from the initial thinking of the stakeholders when they met with a delegation from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
At the meeting, the stakeholders said they expected the Federal Government to rebuild homes, schools, churches and other properties destroyed during herders invasion of the state and to rehabilitate people who are still languishing in Internally Displaced Persons camps.
The stakeholders subsequently issued a communique which made it clear that the state would embrace the National Livestock Transformation Plan to the extent that it does not breach provisions of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of the state.
They urged the state government to set up a technical team of experts to study the NLTP document and identify areas suitable for implementation in Benue State based on peculiarities of the state.