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Groups seek probe of N6.25b for ranching in Katsina

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Gesture end-game for herders/farmers clashes, says VON DG

Some Civil Society Organisations have called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) to probe the approval and release of N6.25 billion for ranching in Katsina State by the Presidency.

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The groups, yesterday, stated that it was illegal for President Muhammadu Buhari to dip hands into public coffers to sponsor private businesses without recourse to due process.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Garba Shehu, reportedly revealed last Friday that the Federal Government had approved N6.25 billion to kick-start ranching businesses in Buhari’s home state.

Also, the President was said to have speedily released over 80 per cent of the sum a day after the approval.

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Katsina State Governor, Aminu Masari, was quoted to have admitted that N5 billion had been released from the sum to start the venture.

Responding to the development in Enugu yesterday, the groups demanded that the money be returned to the public till, even as it asked the Minister for Budget and Economic Planning to explain to Nigerians which budget contained the N6.25 billion for cattle ranches in Katsina.

They made this known in a statement signed by the President, International Solidarity for Peace and Human Rights Initiative (ISPHRI), Osmond Ugwu; Deputy Leader, Mass Movement for True Democracy, Integral Development and Good Governance (MMTDIDGG), Dr. Jerry Chukwuokolo; and Secretary, Coalition of Civil Societies, Workers and Human Rights Defenders (CCSWHRD), Zulu Ofoelue.

BUT, the Director-General, Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr. Osita Okechukwu, has said that the Katsina ranch project will end the incessant herders/farmers clashes in the country.

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Okechukwu called for expedited action on the programme initiated by the National Economic Council in 2018 with the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) blueprint.

The Enugu State-born chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) pledged to offer his community land for ranch development.

He added: “For me, the flag-off of the N6.25 billion Katsina ranch is the end-game for the incessant herders/farmers clashes in Nigeria; hence the foremost news of the week. I am surprised that most editors didn’t give it the prominence it deserved.

“The Katsina ranch is a poster boy of the NLTP, good news, and we need more urgently. I doubt if there is any farming community in Nigeria, especially in the Middle Belt, that did not lose one person? What of food insecurity unleashed by herders/farmers clashes? And you talk of polarisation of the country; methinks the clashes polarised our dear countrymen more than elections? It regrettably promoted our fault lines.”

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