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Benue State Reacts, Reject FG’s Proposed Ranching Plans

NEWSMAN, Makurdi – Benue State government on Tuesday said it has no land for cattle grazing routes as proposed by the Nigerian Government.

“While we may not stop the Federal Government’s plan to rehabilitate grazing reserves or create cattle routes in other states, we wish to make it clear that no land in Benue State has been gazetted for grazing routes, grazing reserves, cattle colonies and Ruga settlements,”

Benue State Government said in a statement.

Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu on Monday opposed the ban on open grazing of cattles by Southern governors, saying the move was unconstitutional.

Shehu faulted the southern governors who, he said, did not provide an alternative to banning the open grazing method to stop farmers and herders crisis in Nigeria.

The presidential spokesman noted that the Federal Government will implement national programme for cattle ranching in all states.

However, Benue State Government in a swift response, said it does not support the idea.

“Benue is therefore not part of the grazing reserves rehabilitation programme of the Federal Government.”

“We expect the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to weigh the negative consequences its recommendation will have on the unity and security of the nation and advise Mr President that Nigerians are not on the same page with him regarding the matter of open grazing. It is not too late to salvage the situation,” the government said.

The Benue State government described the federal government’s move as shocking and called for a national dialogue.

The government noted that at a time the country is battling worsening security situation, many Nigerians are calling for national dialogue to address the fundamental issues that have led to the present state of affairs in Nigeria.

“It is now clear that there is a hidden agenda which only the Presidency knows,” Benue government said.

“Otherwise, all the regions of the country have accepted the fact that open grazing of animals is no longer fashionable and should be banned to pave way for ranching, yet, the government at the centre is insistent that grazing reserves/cattle routes must be created across the country.

“As it stands, the Presidency is the lone hand pushing for the continuation of open grazing and the return of cattle routes of 1950s and 60s. The Presidency has, by its endorsement of open grazing, emboldened armed herders who lay claim to all lands in Nigeria as belonging to Fulani.”

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