Following the decision of the Federal Government to kick-start the National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP across the 19 Northern States and some parts of South-South, the Benue State Government has distanced itself from the plan, insisting that the State had opted for ranching.
The State government had in 2017 enacted the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law as a measure to end the incessant herders/farmers crisis in the State.
But following the escalated security crisis birthed by the activities of suspected Fulani herdsmen across the country, the Federal Government has decided to implement the NLTP in some states to help curtail the security challenges.
However, the Benue Government, in a statement on Friday by the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Hon Ngunan Addingi said the State would not go against its law, stating that it had domesticated the NLTP to suit its peculiarity.
The statement reads, “While we cannot speak for other states listed in the establishment of the grazing reserves as announced by the Federal Government, we however distance Benue from the programme.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Benue State has domesticated the NLTP plan as approved by the National Economic Council, NEC. We, therefore, reiterate that we will only implement the NLTP as it suits our peculiarities.
“Moreover, the NLTP itself is not a compulsory programme. The resolution of NEC on the implementation of the Plan is not mandatory and states are free to domesticate it according to their peculiarities. For us in Benue, we have embraced ranching as a matter of policy and law for animal husbandry. To that extent, the state will not contradict the policy by accepting grazing reserves. Grazing reserves have no place in our law which prohibits open grazing.
“Consequently, the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP in Benue will adhere strictly to the state’s Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law, 2017. The Plan will be implemented according to peculiarities which Benue State has identified. Our focus will be on livestock such as pigs, goats, poultry, sheep and cows.
“It is in this regard that Governor Samuel Ortom has consistently encouraged Benue households to venture into animal husbandry in addition to crop farming with ranching as the driving method.
“Our administration is commited to the enforcement of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law, 2017 and no part of the state will be allocated for grazing reserves”.