Herder Crisis: Six States Reject FG’s Grazing Reserves Scheme
Seventeen Northern states and the Federal Capital Territory , as well as three southern states , namely Ekiti , Ondo, and Ebonyi have signed up for the National Livestock Transformation Programme.
However, Six state governments , namely Delta, Cross River , Anambra , Akwa Ibom , Oyo , and Edo have said they will not donate any land to be used as grazing reserves for herdsmen
The Federal Government had in February said it had mapped out 30 grazing reserves across the country for the planned implementation of the NLTP.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture , Dr. Andrew Kwasari, said in a statement, “ And every state that adopts the NLTP, it is to its own reality. It is not conscription, but if they do it this way, it will modernise livestock and crop production, remove conflict, create dialogue, and create cohesion in communities. ”
In 2018, the Vice President , Prof Yemi Osinbajo, had inaugurated the NLTP at the Gongoshi Grazing Reserve in the Mayo -Belwa Local Government Area of Adamawa State .
He said the plan was designed to run from 2019 to 2028 as a collaborative project among the federal and state governments , farmers , pastoralists and private investors.
However, some southern state governments on Saturday rejected the idea of creating a grazing reserve for herders. They said they did not have any land to donate for the initiative.
They stressed that any individual who wanted to go into ranching should rather look for land to buy.
The Delta State government said that the state had moved past talks on grazing reserves for herdsmen , saying it would never be part of such a plan .
The state Commissioner for Information , Mr. Charles Aniagwu, said on Sunday, “ I don’ t know the one they are talking about . We have passed the issue of debate on grazing reserves. Anybody talking about grazing reserves now does not wish this country well.
“ Is the Federal Government rearing cattle ? Cattle – rearing is a private business and if a person needs land for ranching, they should buy . Ours is to regulate their activities and collect tax from them . We don ’ t have land to give anybody.
Also , the Anambra State government said it had no plans to create grazing reserves for herdsmen .
The state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C- Don Adinuba , said the state had the smallest landmass in the country bedeviled by the scourge of erosion, hence it would not embark on any project that would further deplete its land .
Adinuba added that , “ Ranching is big business. If herders apply for land to do their business , we can consider allotting land to them . But government cannot on its own start establishing grazing reserves because the era of government going into full- scale businesses has gone. Private sectors drive the economy all over the world .
“ Besides , we don’ t have the land. Anambra has the smallest landmass in the country after Lagos . So , we don’ t have that luxury of land for grazing reserves. ”
Also , the Akwa Ibom State government said it was not creating grazing reserves for herders in the state.
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Ini Ememobong, said , “ We are not creating grazing reserves. But if the people want to do ranching as a private business, they can do so at their expense in line with normal land acquisition processes. ”
The Cross River State government also said it did not have any immediate plans to create grazing reserves for herders in the state.
Meanwhile, Enugu and Imo state governments said they had yet to decide whether to key into the NLTP programme or not .
Enugu Commissioner for Agriculture , Mr Mathew Idu , said he was not aware of the programme and had no idea about the criteria used by the Federal Government in mapping out the grazing areas.
Also , the Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, said the government had yet to decide whether to key into the NLTP programme or not .