Benue traditional rulers, PDP object to FG’s N179bn cattle ranches proposal

Benue traditional rulers, PDP object to FG’s N179bn cattle ranches proposal

- A set of tribal leaders in Benue state has openly rejected the federal government's allocation of N179 billion for cattle ranches across 10 states in the country

- The traditional heads oppose the presidency's move in the fear that it might be a ploy to hand over Benue state to herdsmen

- Moreover, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has advised the federal government to go into more consultation about the bid in order to avoid crisis and national unrest in the country

For fear that most lands in Benue may soon be handed over to herdsmen, traditional rulers on the platforms of Mdzough U Tiv (MUT), Idoma National Forum (INF), and Omi Ny’Igede (ONI), have rejected the presidency's proposal to use over N179 billion to construct ranches in 10 states, Vanguard reports.

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The traditional leaders, in the persons of Chief Edward Ujege, president-general of (MUT); Chief Amali Amali, president-general (INF), and Chief Ben Okpe, the president general of (ONI) in a statement on Thursday, June 21, insisted that the provisions of the Benue grazing law should be the blueprint for grazing in the state.

The statement put forward by the trio read: “The proposal is for the Federal Government to establish pilot cattle ranches in 10 states, including Benue, and it has a 10-year plan estimated to gulp N179 billion.

“While we appreciate the position of the Federal Government to accept ranching as the global best method of animal husbandry, which has been our position in Benue State, we reject the idea to use public funds to construct ranches for a private business of cattle rearing.

“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.”

Meanwhile, PDP on Thursday, June 21 advised the federal government to do more consultations concerning setting up ranches in various states to avoid crisis and clashes across the country, adding that the move is already brewing tension and unrest among states and stakeholders.

In a statement by PDP’s spokesperson, Ologbondiyan, the party expressed fear over “a lack of adequate consultations by federal government resulting in the disagreements that have trailed the plan, especially along ethnic divides.”

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The opposition party appealed to the federal government “to get its acts together and follow all due processes, as stipulated by the laws and the 1999 Constitution (as amended) regarding this issue, to eliminate the current disagreements being generated.”

Meanwhile, reported that the Ohanaeze Ndigbo had rejected the planned establishment of 94 ranches in 10 states of Nigeria as a way of finding peace and putting an end to constant clashes between farmers and herdsmen across the country.

The president of the Anambra state chapter of the apex social-cultural Igbo organisation, Chief Demian Okeke-Ogene, in an interview on behalf of the group, said the establishment of the ranches was against the law of the land.

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