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NLTP will end farmer/herder clashes in Nasarawa, says Sule

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Abdullahi Sule

The recent launch of the National Livestock Transformation Programme (NLTP) in Nasarawa State is basically to end the herder/farmer clashes.

Governor Abdullahi Sule said he had this in mind before he became the governor for the economic benefit the state stands to reap.

In his speech before the launching of the project, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, said the state decided to key into the NLTP, even before he came into office, because of security challenges, occasioned by farmers/herders conflicts along the boundary with Benue State.

“On arrival, we were faced with many challenges and one of the biggest challenges was that of security,” he stated.

According to the governor, Nasarawa State also decided to key into the scheme because of its inherent economic benefits associated with ranching.

Engineer Sule added that the desire to maximally utilize the hitherto abandoned grazing reserves, which have become the hiding place for criminal elements, motivated Nasarawa State to adopt the NLTP.

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He noted that, every state has grazing reserves, but the security of the people is more important than ownership of any land.

While commending President Muhammadu Buhari, for making the scheme a reality, the governor appealed to the Federal Government not to limit the commencement of the NLTP to Nasarawa State, but to extend to other states.

Nasarawa State, being the pilot state in the country has kick-started the programme initiated in 2018 in Awe local council.

Governor Sule along side his Plateau State counterpart and Chairman, Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF), Simon Lalong, as well as the (immediate past) Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, among other dignitaries, launched the Model Ranching Hub Project, in Awe Grazing Reserve, on 5th August, 2021.

Mr. Sabo Nanono applauded Governor Sule for working tirelessly to accelerate the launching of the NLTP first model ranching hub project in Awe.

Nanono underscored the challenges confronting the nation’s livestock sector, ranging from poor productivity, resulting from poor land management, climate change, outdated animal husbandry practice, among others, which all together became a recipe for the breach of peace and security, due mostly to incessant clashes involving farmers and herders.

The worsening security breaches, according to the minister, necessitated for a holistic resolution that will cater for not only improved productivity in the livestock subsector, but also justice, security, recovery for victims of violent clashes, as well as human capital development.

The project’s National Coordinator and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Agriculture, Dr. Andrew Kwasari, however explained the essence of the NLT, which is to gradually develop the livestock subsector.

Kwasari explained that the Awe model ranching hub will demonstrate ranching to the pastoralists and take them in batches, at household level and put them through the know-how.

The Netherlands’s government received commendation for keying into the NLTP and financial support to make the project a reality.

The Dutch Ambassador in Nigeria, Harry Van Dijk, stated that the NLTP was a fallout of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between President Muhammadu Buhari and a consortium in Netherlands, to develop ranching in Nigeria.

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In 2019, Nigerian authorities launched a ten-year National Livestock Transformation Plan to curtail the movement of cattle, boost livestock production and quell the country’s lethal herder-farmer conflict.

However, inadequate funding uncertainties could derail the project according to experts. If NLTP is properly managed, violence fuelled by environmental degradation and competition over land would be properly handled.

No doubt modernising the livestock sector is key to resolving the herder-farmer conflict, which threatens Nigeria’s political stability and food security.

Donors and investors should prioritise securing funds, training personnel and communicating the Plan’s benefits to herders and farmers.

If governor Sule must succeed in the implementation of the pilot ranches, donor commitments and staff training is necessary. If the core strategy of the plan is to curtail migratory or open grazing to lower the risk of conflict between herders and farmer, all hands must be put in desk to fast track the implementation.

It must be noted that while the plan has earned the endorsement of many state governments, lack of personnel with the expertise to carry out the plan and the widespread insecurity can frustrate the plan.

The federal government has proposed that by 2028,at least 119 ranches operating in all participating states to create over two million jobs in the livestock production, processing and marketing chains.

If this plan to modernise livestock management fails, herder/farmer violence could escalate. Therefore every effort to ensure the plan to succeed should be handle with diligent.

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The federal government has committed 80 per cent funding of the transformation proposals submitted by participating states, has taken preliminary steps toward putting the Plan into practice, including by providing technical support to help states prepare for implementation, such as help with field surveys and site mapping.

But many farmers are worried that they may lose land to livestock producers. This is common in the Middle Belt and southern states who remain suspicious and feels that plan is only creating privileges for herders and more broadly the Fulani.

While some of these steps will take time, the Plan’s proponents should focus on delivering concrete, visible results on a relatively short-term basis.

Less than two years from now, the country will hold general elections, which may lead to change of government. The continuation of the plan would be at risk.

Meanwhile Governor Sule has received applause and awards from in and outside the state for his relentless efforts in ensuring viable economy and security of the state.

Sule has remained dogged in the fight against insecurity in the state. His fought right handlings of security related matter has marked him out amongst his predecessors.

This has earned the governor confidence of citizens in the state despite some failed plan by his political rivals to frustrate his political aspiration.

It is no longer strange however that political godfathers in Nasarawa state mastermind the fall of their successors.

Governor Sule, who is likely aware of this antics that foot soldiers of those wolves in sheep’s clothing are in his government, remained focused.

However, Sule has proven to be a true democrat with a clear cute mission to industrialise the state despite the huge challenges coupled with meager resources allocated to the state.

Even though the governor has remained mute on the quantum of debt inherited, modalities are already in place to repay the debt in three years.

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His peace initiatives and non-ethnically inclined and religious biasness is one thing that his political godfathers are not comfortable with, owing to the fact that citizens are singing Sule’s praise.

Ethnic rivalry that was predominant in the state suddenly has faded away. People of different who in the past never saw eye to eye are not living together with little or no clashes.

Most of the crises that snowballed into killings of thousands of citizens and destruction properties between 2001/2018 are largely related to religious and ethnic coloration.

Incessant upheavals in the state has gradually slowed down since tye emergence of Abdullahi Sule as governor of Nasarawa state.

This did not just happen, rather is the burned out of the political wills of Mr. Sule who adopted a deliberate non biased approach to ensure handlings of insecurity challenge that placed the state on red light in world’s map.

Public opinion largely hold that people of various ethnic origins in the state now live in harmony irrespective of tribe and religion.

One other distinguishing style of governor Sule is his strong believe that the era of using political thuggery to incite and terrorise political rivals, political parties and other opponents has gradually faded away in the state.

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