Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has said his administration has not embraced cattle colonies or grazing reserves as part of efforts to end the herder/farmer crisis in the state.
The governor in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, accused a presidential aide, Lauretta Onochie, of giving a false narrative on his stand on the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP).
Ortom said Onochie made it seem like the state supports grazing reserves, because Benue is listed as one of the states that applied for funds from the Federal Government for the purposes of establishing ranches.
This is even as he noted the state government only agreed to key into the NLTP because it was approved by the National Economic Council (NEC).
According to Ortom, Benue will only implement aspects of the plan that suits its peculiarities.
“Onochie made spurious allegations, painting the picture that Governor Ortom supports RUGA because the State Government was listed as one of the states that applied for funds from the Federal Government for the purposes of establishing ranches,” the statement partly read.
“It is on record that Governor Ortom has rejected all manner of coinage from the Federal Government in a bid to grab land from Benue State.
“When the Federal Government toyed with so many ideas, ranging from Open Grazing, Grazing Reserves, Grazing Routes, Cattle Colony, RUGA and lastly Farm Centres in the 109 Senatorial Districts across the country in a very suspicious manner, Governor Ortom rose up and opposed it. He rejected any of such policies bring imposed on Benue. He has not shifted from that position.
“The Benue State Government only accepted to key into the National Livestock Transformation Program (NLTP) because the National Economic Council (NEC), which has the 36 state governors as members, approved the National Livestock Transformation Plan which after series of engagement incorporated suggestions by stakeholders from the State.
The NLTP was introduced by the federal government to address the farmer-herder crisis in the country.
As of June, the ministry of agriculture said 22 states and the federal capital territory (FCT) have registered for the project.