By Kingsley Chukwuka, Jos
Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has began the process that will finally put to rest the incessant crisis of famers, herders clash, by signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU), that will establish the National Livestock Transformation Programme (NLTP), in the State.
The MOU is an understanding with two companies that will begin operations at the Wase and Kanam, Local Government Areas, Grazing Reserves, a statement signed on Friday, by Governor Lalong’s Director of Press, Dr. Makut Macham, said.
According to the statement, Lalong accused those holding on to the already gazetted lands for grazing, for politicising the ranching programme.
“Those who had taken over and converted for personal use most of the grazing reserves of the State were behind the incitement and lies alleging that we wanted to sell the State to one group or the other” the Governor said.
However signing the MOU, Lalong
expressed delight that the ranching initiative is gradually becoming a reality after the initial setbacks occasioned by misinformation, politicization and skepticism that drew unnecessary resistance.
“Through robust engagement, enlightenment and dialogue, the earlier fears were dispelled leading to the acceptance of the programme by both farmers, pastoralists and businessmen.
“When the NLTP was initiated, it was erroneously misinterpreted by those who wanted to play politics and discredit it. I told my people that as their Governor, I can never bring anything that will cause them pain and poverty, because I was in the NLTP Committee, I understood clearly that Plateau State will not only benefit from it, but will use it to create jobs and address the farmer herder attacks which almost destroyed the peace of our peace.
“After the engagement with stakeholders, people embraced it because it is business. It has nothing to do with ethnicity, religion or tribe”.
Lalong said the State which is among the five selected for the pilot phase will benefit from the 15 billion that has been earmarked, using a purely private sector led template.
Earlier, the federal government said the programme will attract lot of benefits to pilot States.
Speaking through the Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Agriculture and coordinator of the NLTP, Andrew Kwasari, said the programme is comprehensive enough to cover all those involved in the Livestock industry with value chain addition.
Kwasari, commended Governor Lalong for remaining focused, despite distractions from various quarters, saying he will soon be praised and vindicated not only by his people, but even his critics.
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