Kaduna Needs ₦140bn For Ranching, Says El-Rufai
Governor Nasir El-Rufai has said that Kaduna State needs ₦140 billion for 14 ranches to fully settle herders and their families in the state.
He stated this on Tuesday while addressing journalists at the All Progressives Congress (APC) secretariat in Abuja, arguing that the measure is the most sustainable means to boost livestock production.
“It is not a matter of populist legislation or saying that tomorrow this or that; it is not the solution. We have taken a position as northern states governors and we are implementing that,” he said.
“We cannot do it overnight. We need billions of naira. This is just one ranch that is costing N10 billion. I have 14 grazing reserves in Kaduna State and I would like to convince them into ranching. Do I have 14 times N10 billion? I don’t have.”
“In my state for instance, we are developing a huge ranch at Damao to centralise the herders and that is the solution (on the) long term. But can it be done overnight? No. This project that we are doing will cost us about ₦10 billion. The CBN is supporting us with about ₦7.5 billion and [it] will take about two years to do.”
While El-Rufai maintained that ranching remains the recipe for the recurring farmer-herder conflict in the country, he described the anti-grazing law enacted by some of his colleagues as unrealistic.
According to him, although ranching is the ideal solution to the problem, it cannot be done overnight. He urged those pushing for the immediate ban on open grazing to exercise patience as time and resources are required to have ranches across the country.
“We will be settling about 1,500 Fulani herders’ families and [I] hope they will see that there are alternative ways of producing livestock instead of running up and down with cattle and going to people’s farms and causing all kinds of problems,” Governor El-Rufai added.
An Unconstitutional Move?
El-Rufai is among the latest high-profile personalities to have voiced concerns over the ban on open-grazing by governors – mostly those from the southern region.
The governors had met earlier in the year and banned the open grazing of livestock, giving a September 1 deadline for members to enact the anti-open grazing law.
While a good number of the states have enacted the law and others still in the process, the move has caused ripples across the nation. It has also been criticised by several government officials.
One of such persons who has faulted the Southern Governors’ Forum’s move is the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) who said the development is unconstitutional.
“For example, it is as good as saying, perhaps, maybe, the northern governors coming together to say they prohibit spare parts trading in the north,” he said.
“Does it hold water? Does it hold water for a northern governor to come and state expressly that he now prohibits spare parts trading in the north?”
According to him, the governors should first amend the Constitution to prohibit open grazing before going ahead with their decision.
“If you are talking of constitutionally guaranteed rights, the better approach to it is to, perhaps, go back to ensure the Constitution is amended,” he added.
Despite Malami’s stance, the governors maintain that there is no going back on the ban, insisting it will be enforced to the fullest extent in the region.
“Mr Malami is advised to approach the court to challenge the legality of the laws of the respective states banning open grazing and the decision of the Southern Governors’ Forum taken in the interest of their people. We shall be most willing to meet him in court,” the Chairman of the forum and Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, said. “The decision to ban open grazing stays. It will be enforced with vigour.”