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FG to set up N70bn ranches amidst alleged plans to seize land in states

In its efforts to end protracted herdsmen/farmers’ gory clashes across the country, the Federal Government and states of Nigeria are set to put in place N70 billion livestock ranches across the country.

Newsheadline247 understands there had been claims that the initiative was part of the plans by the Federal Government to seize land in states and give to Fulani herders, a development that was emphatically refuted by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on Sunday.

The Federal Government stated that the programme in its first three years will gulp up to N70 billion and it will be available for individuals who are interested in grazing cattle in any of the facilities in 10 states where the pilot scheme will kick off.

The Federal Government agreed to set up cattle ranches in 10 states – Adamawa, Benue, Ebonyi, Edo, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Oyo, Plateau, Taraba and Zamfara

The 10 states are in the first phase of the national ranching project, which was disclosed at the unveiling of the National Economic Council’s National Livestock Transformation Plan as part of efforts to end clashes between farmers and herdsmen.

Dr. Andrew Kwasari, the Secretary of the NEC Sub-Committee announced that the Federal Government and states would spend N179bn over a period of 10 years on the national livestock implementation.

In reaction to claims that the Federal Government was attempting to seize land through the scheme, the Director of Information, FMARD, Tolu Makinde said no land would be given directly to any individual.

He said, “Of course, it is the state governments that will provide the land because the Land Use Act made it imperative that before you get the land, the state government has to give it to you. So, it is the state governments that will provide the land, but the modalities will be worked out between the federal and state governments.

“Now, this does not mean that the land will be given directly to individual herders. The way it is being conceived is that a facility will be provided in the states and whoever needed to graze will take them there. People need to understand that it (the land) is not going to any individual, whether Fulani or not. If you are a herder, you can take your herds there to graze and pay whatever token is necessary.”

Fulani herdsmen and farmers have been in gory battles over grazing for decades.

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