Benue state government has described as false the impression by a former Presidential aide, Laureta Onochie, concerning its stand on the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP).
The government, which said its position on the implementation of NLTP remains unchanged said it has remained resolute in proposing ranching as best practice for animal husbandry.
A press statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Samuel Ortom, Mr. Nathaniel Ikyur, said “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.”
While describing the narrative as false, the CPS said “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.”
Mr. Ikyur recalled that 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 noted that the Governor rejected any of such policies being imposed on Benue insisting that he has not shifted from that position.
Mr. Ikyur explained that the Benue State Government only accepted to key into the NLTP because the National Economic Council (NEC), which has the 36 state governors as members, approved the Plan which after series of engagements incorporated suggestions by stakeholders from the States.
“The NLTP provides that States are at liberty to adopt and implement aspects of the plan that suit its peculiarities. Unfortunately, the presidency rejected this but would rather continue to dribble Nigerians.
“For us in Benue State, our peculiarities are that we have a ranching law and in the area of Livestock farming, our competitive advantages include indigenous cattle, piggery, goats and fisheries, among others.
“All these have been captured in the Plan and Benue State has accepted the implementation of the Plan based on these conditions.”
He further stated that Benue State has continued to reject the establishment of Cattle Colonies, Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) settlements and Grazing Reserves or any other form of coinage previously proposed by the Federal Government allegedly to curb farmers-herders’ clashes across the country because it had every tendency of subterranean plots to undermine the safety and lives of the indigenous people of the State.
“Benue State’s position has, therefore, not changed.
“It is clear to us that Onochie is not ready to amend her ways, which is why the Senate roundly rejected her nomination as a Federal INEC Commissioner.
“It is, therefore, mischievous for Onochie to drag Governor Ortom into an argument she lacks knowledge about. She should not use Governor Ortom to warm her way back into the consciousness of the President for patronage.
“If Onochie has any modicum of decency remaining in her tainted pedigree, she should rather commend Governor Ortom for insisting on ranching as the win-win solution to herdsmen attacks on farming communities which has now been embraced by others States and the Federal Government,” the statement added.