Northern and Southern leaders in Nigeria disagreed yesterday over the adoption of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP).
While the Northern leaders under the aegis of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) backed the project, their counterparts in the south, under the auspices of Afenifere and Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) rejected the idea.
The ACF had thrown it’s weight behind the livestock plan while commending the Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) who adopted the plan at its emergency meeting which held in Kaduna on September 12, 2019.
The NLTP was earlier commissioned by the National Economic Council (NEC) under the chairmanship of the Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbanjo. It was designed to strengthen and support the livestock activity for improved productivity, pasture production, efficient land and water utilisation to ensure livestock management as an economic and socio-cultural activity.
It could be recalled that when the NLTP is fully implemented as conceived, it will ensure the resettlement of the dislocated communities in the key conflict areas of the country and also provide an avenue for peaceful dialogue and reconciliation among the herders and farmers.
It was for these reasons the NSGF adopted the plan and urged States to key in as a panacea to the current insecurity challenges in particular the rampant herders/farmers unnecessary clashes and also the need to modernise pastoral activities.
However, a statement signed by the national publicity secretary of ACF, Muhammad Ibrahim Biu, applauded the courageous decision by the Northern governors, saying it will go along way in not only improving the livestock production but also ensure peaceful coexistence among herders and farmers especially in the Northern states.
The statement said, “ACF therefore, hopes that States that key into the program will embrace it holistically to not only benefit from the available NLTP funds, but also ensure accountability and judicious utilisation of the funds for the benefit of the herders.
“ACF also appeal to the Federal Government to ensure that states willing to participate in the program are given maximum encouragement through its policy of intervention by way of adequate funding and provision of infrastructure that will not only boost livestock production, but also provide employment opportunities within the livestock value chain.
“ACF therefore calls upon the State Governors, Traditional and Religious leaders, groups and individuals to sensitise Nigerians on the benefits of such laudable programs instead of the unnecessary politicisation that usually follows such Government’s projects, conceived for the benefits of Nigerians, as it will do no good to our collective development as a nation”.
But the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere rejected the Livestock Plan, saying it is another plan to deceive Nigerians.
Afenifere while stating that cattle rearing is a personal business noted that “there is no difference between RUGA and National Livestock Programme Plan.”
Speaking through its spokesman, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, the pan Yoruba group said, “as far as Afenifere is concerned, this is all about deception. It is just like when some people said they are rejecting six and adopting half of a dozen. What is the difference between RUGA and the National Livestock Plan that they are talking about? Do they think we are fools?
“The last time, Garba Shehu came on the national television to explain this and said openly that there is no difference between RUGA and National Livestock Programme Plan.
“We all know that this is a personal business and if so, why is government involving in it? Why will those herders not do it on their own? Many of us must have been born in the night but we are not all born yesterday night.
“They should stop deceiving us. This is a clear deception. They can’t fool us at this stage. If they don’t have a personal agenda, they should have adopted ranches and allow those who have the business to go and build their ranches. Before it was RUGA, now it is the National Livestock Programme Plan. What is now the difference?
“Afenifere is not in support of that. Government has no business in this at all. Cattle rearing is a private business. Are they doing the same thing for fishermen and other farmers? Are they doing the same thing for traders? They should stop deceiving Nigerians,” Odumakin said.
In same vein, the South-South leaders under the aegis of Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) declared that the people of Niger Delta region are not in support of state-sponsored National Livestock Transformation Agency.
PANDEF publicity secretary, Chief Anabs Sara-Igbe, who disclosed this in a chat with LEADERSHIP Sunday in Port Harcourt, stated that the people of the region can only support individuals who want to go into livestock production. He added that the only way they can support the plan is if the Federal Government agrees to sponsor other sections of the agricultural sector, including fishing.
He said, “PANDEF’s position is that we are against the government pushing and sponsoring a programme in the name, RUGA. We can only accept individuals developing the livestock.
“We can only support it if the government will also sponsor those interested in fishing or other sections of agriculture,” he added.
Lalong Refutes Report On Livestock Transformation Plan
Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has refuted media reports quoting him as saying that the Federal Government through the National Economic Council has approved the sum of 100 billion naira for the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP).
Lalong in a statement signed by director of press and public affairs, Makut Simon Macham, described the assertion purportedly made in an interview he granted recently as a total misrepresentation of facts.
According to the statement, Lalong said “for the avoidance of doubt, I never mentioned or in any way inferred during my interview that the Federal Government or the National Economic Council Chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo approved the sum of 100 billion naira for the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) or any ranching programme.”
Lalong in the statement yesterday added, “What I clearly stated in the said interview was that the document about livestock was initiated during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan for which they budgeted N100 billion naira. At no time did I associate the Buhari Administration with the approval or management of such funds”.
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