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Stakeholders in Benue State reject FG’s livestock transformation plan

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Cattle

• Ohanaeze berates PDP BoT chairman over comments on RUGA
• Council chairman in A’Ibom prohibits indiscriminate movement of herdsmen

Benue stakeholders, made up of the traditional institution, the church, socio-cultural organisations, the academia and civil society, yesterday rejected Federal Government’s proposed National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), describing it as a round peg in a square hole.

The stakeholders made their strong resistance known at the Government House, Makurdi, during an interface with a delegation from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources that were on ground to disclose the FG’s plan.

Tor Lobi, Chief Moses Anagende and Tor Kwande, Chief Ambrose Iyortyer, who spoke for traditional rulers, said what was best for the Federal Government was to rebuild homes, schools, churches and other property destroyed during herders’ invasion of the state and to rehabilitate the highly traumatised displaced persons who are still languishing in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps.

They stated that the document detailing the NLTP and its implementation only talked about cattle and no other category of livestock, stressing that the plan was clearly the reintroduction of the rejected RUGA settlements and cattle colonies for herdsmen.

Prof. Amstrong Adejo of Benue State University, who stated that the word ‘livestock’ as captured in the document was holistic but the conclusion was particular about cows, said that the document was a proposal, which he advised the Benue State Government to set up a committee to dissect and bring up Benue’s position.

Mrs. Josephine Haba, representing Civil Society Organisations, wondered why Benue had recently been a theatre of killings but instead of the Federal Government to address the plight of those who suffered the attacks, it had brought an architect to redesign structures for pastoralists in the state.

Others, including Archbishop Yimam Orkwar, Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria in Benue State, Revd. Akpen Leva, President Mdzough u Tiv, Chief Edward Ujege and former House of Representatives member, Mrs. Rebecca Apezan, lamented that security men now escort the Benue people to bury their loved ones because herdsmen have occupied the people’s ancestral homes.

Apezan further described the NLTP as RUGA in a different regalia.

Meanwhile, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide has condemned in strong term the stand of People Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees (BoT) Chairman, Senator Walil Jubril, for supporting RUGA settlement for herdsmen.

In a statement in Abakaliki by its President-General, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, the group condemned Walil’s action, saying that his stand is unacceptable.

Also, Chairman, Mkpat Enin Local Council, Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Ekanem Brown, has ordered the immediate prohibition of indiscriminate movement of herders and their animals within communities in the council area.

He disclosed this while speaking with journalists in his home in Uyo, the state capital yesterday.


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