Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule on Friday, said the need to maintain peace in the state, especially among warring cattle herders and farmers informed massive investment in the National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP.
He said he came to the realisation that the constant tension between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in Benue was also constituting a crisis in his state, jeopardising peace, hence the development of ranches in the state.
The programme is being implemented in Awe Local Government Area of the State.
Governor Sule gave the explanations, shortly after he had a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Recall that the Federal Government, as a means of intervening in the farmers-herders crisis resulting in colossal losses of human lives and properties, launched the National Livestock Transformation Policy.
While controversies over the policy raged, some states of the federation believed to be more affected by the crisis were selected by the federal government in the pilot scheme.
The NLTP, as envisioned by government, entails the creation of a specialised grazing area, where livestock would be reared with all the attendant facilities to support their growth without having to roam around.
Reacting to why Nasarawa State keyed into the programme and what impact it had made on the state, Gov Sule said:
“The next-door-neighbour to us is our sister state, Benue, that has the anti-open grazing law that has always created tension between Fulani and farmers.
“Most of the Fulani from the other side of Benue always run to Nasarawa State.
“In order to reduce that tension and to reduce all these roaming around with cows, we decided in Nasarawa to buy into it (NLTP) and we were the first state among the four states to take it seriously.
“We decided to acquire the land. So if you want me to answer your question in just one word, we want peace.
“Peace is the most important thing that we want and the development of the herders also. They are citizens of Nigeria, they also need to be protected.”
He said further:
“We believe the best thing is to be able to bring them together in one place so that we can provide the school, we can provide the security for them, we can give them water, and more importantly, we can provide them with the kind of feeds that they need.
“So right now, instead of a cow giving you milk, maybe about two litres or three litres of milk, we’re getting roughly about five.
“But everything you have seen is not even where we want to be yet, we are still moving forward.”
Sule also spoke on the purpose of his visit to the Presidential Villa.
He said: “I’m in the Villa to see Mr President to express our appreciation for the teaching hospital that has been approved for Lafia in Nasarawa State [and] to also express appreciation to him for his support with oil discovery that has just taken place in Nasarawa State.”