No One Will Tamper With Ancestral Farmlands, Says Plateau State Govt
The lingering issue of Grazing Reserves to be created in some States across the country has become a serious problem within the communities whose state governors have indicated interest in the exercise, with the Plateau State government appearing to be worst hit with the “opposition spirit.”
Conscience Triumph recalls that, in several reactions by some communities and members of the Plateau state National Assembly, which said “NO” to grazing reserves, these people in their reaction were calling rather for the rehabilitation of IDPs to go back to their homes instead of the avowed drive for grazing reserves in the state.
To this regard, the plateau state government has said that it is not going to create a grazing reserve but Cattle Ranches. It was observed that, to get a cattle ranch, one must acquire land and build, maybe, quarters for his workers; but the question was, and still is, does a Fulani man have money to meet this demand? It was generally observed that to create grazing ranches requires someone, who has money that can build a company.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ dialogue organized by Search for Common Ground – a high-level dialogue on Grazing Ranches, at Crest Hotel on Wednesday, in Jos – Plateau deputy governor, Prof Sonni Tyoden, said, “The state government has not intended or indicated interest on grazing reserves; we must have a dialogue with the people before this becomes a policy.” He refuted allegations for the adoption of the new cattle ranches policy, but reaffirmed that government is still making consultation with stakeholders in the state.
With regards to the Grazing Reserves and Cattle Ranches, the deputy governor, who represented Governor Simon Lalong, said on the controversial ‘crisis’ going on, “We are not seizing people’s farmlands but we expected communities to volunteer by donating their lands for the proposal; and those, who do not want, nobody will force them.”
According to him, no one will tamper with ancestral farmlands, but government plans to safeguard it not to be occupied by foreigners, observing that, different breeders of cattle that are in the country are not from Nigeria, and that these are the ones, who always cause unnecessary conflicts. He said government wants to avoid incessant clashes between herders and farmers, because the issue of grazing reserves has continued to trigger serious problems over the years.
He advocated for community-based cattle ranches, which should not be exclusively to the Fulani but other tribes on the Plateau to also benefit from it, saying that, the state government had recommended the adoption of the policy on ranches, which has huge economic potentials to the farmers, especially for those, who want to venture actively.
Prof Tyoden disclosed that, no decision has been taken by the state government to establish ranches but is still under series scrutiny and consultation with stakeholders, which is ongoing with careful analysis underway, to redefine the policy. Speaking also, the President, Search for Common Ground, Shamil Idriss, said dialogue and peaceful resolution between government and communities remains the best options, while expressing confidence on government to employ ‘radical awareness’ campaign for this would reduce conflict in the society and its attendant negative consequences.
The chairman of stakeholder’s dialogue on Cattle Ranches in state stressed the need and political propaganda going on in the state by urging the people of the state to embrace the policy, which has lots of benefits to farmers and those, who are into ranches.
Also speaking at the stakeholders’ dialogue was Prof Mairubutu, who reiterated that government had a positive program of empowering youths to meet up the yearnings and aspirations of the teeming populace. He, however, noted that the issue of grazing reserves has been in existence over the years, which created more than enough crises to the people.
Mairubutu further noted that government is trying to address the problem associated with miscreants, who may want to take advantage of this to manipulate the exercise for their selfish advantage, and emphasized that the federal government is planning to diversify the revenue towards focusing on agriculture as the main stay of the economy to reduce youth restiveness.