Benue groups kick over N170 billion vote for cattle ranches
Imo women talk tough, want herders to leave
Three major socio-cultural organisations in Benue State have rejected the move by the Federal Government to spent N170 billion of public funds to construct ranches for what they term ‘a private business of cattle rearing.’The groups equally spurned the push for actualisation of grazing routes and cattle colonies.
In a statement in Makurdi by President General of Mzough U Tiv, Chief Edward Ujege; President, Idoma National Forum, Amali Odoya Amali; and President General, Omi Nyi’Igede, Ben Opka; the organisations, however, applauded government for accepting ranching as the global best method of animal husbandry.Their words: “While we appreciate the Federal Government’s position to accept ranching as the global best method of animal husbandry, which has been our position in Benue State, we, however, reject the idea by government to use public funds to construct ranches for a private business of cattle rearing.
“Moreover, the proposed project, which includes Benue, has a 10-year plan estimated to gulp N170 billion and N70 billion is to be sourced by the Federal Government to commence the project.“We wish to state that cattle rearing remains a private business in the world, and Nigeria in particular, just like crop farming and should be treated as such.”
They stressed that there was an extant law, Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment 2017, in Benue that makes provisions for those interested in the business of cattle rearing to acquire land and build ranches.
According to them, the herders would also have to abide by the laws of land acquisition as well as those of the host communities to instill a sense of belonging.”They added: “As we reaffirm our support for this law and all its provisions, we view the attempt by the Federal Government to build ranches for herders in our state as a grand plan to grab our land and give it to herdsmen.”
Meanwhile, the women leader of Amakohia-Ubi, in Owerri West Local Council of Imo State, Mrs. Betty Uneze, has threatened that the entire women in the area would fight the herdsmen with the last drop of their blood if they refused to leave their community.She alleged that they invaded their area, raping them and destroying their farms.
Uneze told The Guardian yesterday that they would deploy all means at their disposal should the complaint they lodged with the state government fail to get desired attention.They had on Wednesday protested to Government House, Owerri where they lodged their complaint on the unsavoury activities of the herders in their area.Her words: “This is the last time we will appeal to the state government to come to our rescue and pursue the herdsmen who are using their cattle to destroy our farms. Next time, we will use available means to fight back. This is unbearable. We are appealing to the governor to stop the menace.”
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