The Governor of Plateau State, Mr Simon Lalong, has explained the policy of ranches designed to resolve cases of clashes between herdsmen and farmers across the country.
Speaking on Channels TV programme, Sunday Politics, the Governor differentiated between the grazing reserves and ranches.
He stated the reasons behind his states’ adoption of ranching and the modalities.
“The Suswan committee (former Benue Governor) made far-reaching recommendations which include ranches or grazing reserves (and grazing routes).
“Now for me on the Plateau, it will be difficult to go for grazing reserves because the routes are not available. Although the law is there, you cannot get the routes.
“In some of the routes, you will find out that they are occupied by government buildings and structures.
“If you go to Abuja today, many of the parks you see there are grazing routes. I will even not be surprised if the structure of the Villa was also grazing route.
“So when we look at it, we look at the pros and cons – the advantages of the two, and the recommendation was that we should go for ranches,” he said.
He added that there has been some misconception among citizens regarding the plan to adopt ranches instead of grazing reserves.
“Grazing reserves, to me is outdated, people had grazing reserves but they were not using it,” he said.
“You must understand the difference between grazing reserves and ranches.
“When you talk of grazing reserves, it means it is an area that is reserved by government seasonally for herdsmen, perhaps when there is no water in their area once in a while during dry season. They come there to graze their cattle.
“It is not very economical. It creates crisis because with people coming there, it attracts cattle rustling.”
He explained that the focus of the Federal Government is on developing livestock breeding with modern techniques and technology. “Ranching, I will say is the modern way of livestock breeding.
“Livestock breeding is not restricted to cattle. It also involves sheep and goat. Even in my area they say you can domesticate it to include piggery, poultry and so on.”
“So what the government is trying to do through this policy is to subsidize the business of livestock production.”
Communities in Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa and other states have been plagued by numerous clashes between herdsmen and farmers, leading to the loss of several lives and destruction of property.
He explained that his administration had to consider some of the recommendations made by the previous administration and these guided their decisions in trying to curb the violence.
Governor Lalong said that the use of dialogue as a way to resolve the recurring crises has been highly productive as peace has returned to Plateau State.
“We called the Fulani people. Some of them are Nigerians,” he said, while explaining the need to get the two main warring groups together.
The Governor also explained other efforts being made by his administration to ensure that the cases of clashes between herdsmen and farmers are brought to an end.