Plateau State Governor Barr. Simon Lalong yesterday in Jos, the Paluau State capital, said that he never accepted or endorsed the creation of Grazing Reserves or Cattle Colonies as being erroneously insinuated and propagated by the opposition party in the state.
This came as the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has declared that the cattle colony proposed by the Federal Government is ‘dead on arrival’, adding that, government does not have the right to place priority on any group of farmers.
Addressing Christians during the 3rd Annual Plateau Prayer Day organised by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Plateau State Chapter in conjunction with the Government House Chapel, held at Jos Rwang Pam Township Stadium, Lalong said his administration has not embraced the concept of Grazing Reserves or Cattle Colonies as solution to the series of clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the state.
“It is therefore worthy of note that there is nothing on the part of this administration like accepting or endorsing Grazing Reserves or Grazing Bill or Cattle Colonies related to land grabbing or seizure to be given to a particular group of people by the Plateau State Government as being erroneously insinuated and propagated by the opposition in the state”.
Governor Lalong, however, accuse the immediate past governor of the state Senator Jang of establishing grazing reserves in the state with approved budgetary allocations made for their development.
“Contrary to beliefs and propaganda by some people who have chosen to politicise this issue, this government has never initiated the establishment or creation of grazing reserves.
Rather, we inherited a Gazette of April, 2009 by my immediate predecessor that recognised and established grazing reserves in Plateau State with approved budgetary allocations made for their development,” he said.
Lalong pledged his administration’s determination in addressing the outdated grazing issues for the overall benefit of Nigerians, especially in relation to the intractable violent conflicts between farmers and herders as well as cattle rustling.
Meanwhile, President of NANS, Comrade Chinonso Obasi told journalists in Minna, yesterday that President Muhammadu Buhari needs to stop focusing on 2019 but deal with the security issues at hand.
He called on President Buhari to step up on security in order to stop the incessant killings by herdsmen in some parts of the country.
“For the cattle colony proposed by the Federal Government, they (government) do not have any business imposing colony on the people.
“All the government needs to do is to create an enabling business environment and leave how to run the business to individuals because a farmer is a farmer. Cattle rearing is farming and there should not be any priority placed on any group of farmers. Imposing cattle herdsmen on the people is not the way forward.
“Every geopolitical zone has its own way of farming.
If any farmer finds a place habitable, he should negotiate with the owners of the land and if they are satisfied, he can do his business there. Cattle colony will not work,” he stressed.
Speaking on the recent herdsmen attack in Taraba State, NANS President frowned at the delay of government towards ensuring that security is sustained in states that are under the attacks of herdsmen.
“A government that cannot provide security to the people cannot be proud to call itself a government.
NANS is charging the President to step up in security, he should stop being presidential; he should listen to the yearning of the people.
“There are issues and alot of questions that are being unanswered; instead of discussing them, they are busy discussing about 2019 elections. It is only those who are alive that will vote in 2019.”
Obasi also declared that the people are tired of the strategies being talked about by the military and the police stressing on the need to move beyond strategies to action. “We are tired of hearing of the strategies the military and police are bringing to place, we want to see actions in terms of security.”
He then urged President Buhari to implement the 2014 National Conference report stating that it would proffer a lasting solution to the insecurity issues that have bedevilled the nation.