The cattle ranches to be set up by the Federal Government and states in different locations across the country are not solely for Fulani herdsmen.
According to the Federal Government, the programme, which will gulp N70bn in its first three years, will be for any individual who is interested in grazing his cattle in any of the facilities in the 10 states where the pilot scheme will start.
Last Wednesday, The PUNCH reported that the Federal Government and the states agreed to set up cattle ranches in 10 states – Adamawa, Benue, Ebonyi, Edo, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Oyo, Plateau, Taraba and Zamfara – to end herders/farmers’ crisis in the country.
The 10 states are in the first phase of the national ranching project, which was disclosed at the unveiling of the National Economic Council’s National Livestock Transformation Plan as part of efforts to end clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
The Secretary of the NEC Sub-Committee, Dr. Andrew Kwasari, had stated that the Federal Government and states would spend N179bn over a period of 10 years on the national livestock implementation.
But there had been claims that the initiative was part of the plans by the Federal Government to seize land in states and give to Fulani herders, a development that was refuted by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Sunday.
When asked for the ministry’s reaction with respect to the claims that the Federal Government was attempting to seize land for Fulani herdsmen through the creation of ranches in the designated states, the Director of Information, FMARD, Tolu Makinde, said no land would be given directly to any individual.
He said, “Of course, it is the state governments that will provide the land because the Land Use Act made it imperative that before you get the land, the state government has to give it to you. So, it is the state governments that will provide the land, but the modalities will be worked out between the federal and state governments.”
He added, “Now, this does not mean that the land will be given directly to individual herders. The way it is being conceived is that a facility will be provided in the states and whoever has needs to graze will take them there. People need to understand that it (the land) is not going to any individual, whether Fulani or not. If you are a herder, you can take your herds there to graze and pay whatever token is necessary.”