Yakubu Busari, Jos
Governor Simon Bako Lalong has explained why his administration prefers cattle ranching to cattle colonies, which is being suggested by the Federal Government as a solution to the security challenges posed by the continued violent clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the country.
Addressing the congregants at the 3rd Annual Prayer Day service held at the Rwangpam Stadium in Jos, jointly organised by the state government and the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria Plateau, he urged church leaders to use their God given talents, time and treasures positively in proclaiming, educating and telling the truth not just to authority but to their congregation.
He said without prejudice to giant strides being made by his administration in the development of the state , “we have been witnessing pockets of crises between herdsmen and farmers.Lalong told the CAN leader that there are challenges with understanding the issues of grazing reserves and ranching, “but for the sake of posterity and clarification the current position and intentions of the government on this matter is that grazing reserves are simply tracts of land acquired and developed and reserved or set aside for farmers or nomads to use in grazing their livestock or domesticated animals, while ranch or livestock production center is a plot or piece of land dedicated to raising any livestock within a large area and or even at a backyard.”
The Governor lamented that the propaganda by some people who have chosen to politicise this issue is misinforming people whereas this government never initiated the establishment or creation of grazing reserves .According to him, the current administration inherited April 2009 gazette by the former Governor Jonah David Jang administration, which recognised and established grazing reserves in Plateau state and he, Lalong ony approved budgetary allocations to effect the development .
He pointed out that “the administration didn’t embrace the concept of grazing reserves as solution to abating the series of clashes in view of the fact that in this 21st century and modern times, they are outdated, unacceptable and recurrent recipe for crises as we have been witnessing .According to him, the government set up a committee which conducted a series of sensitisation and held consultative meetings with groups including government, religious leaders, elders, youths and traditional rulers.
“These interest groups that cut across Plateau had accepted, unequivocally, the strategic initiative and concept of ranching as being the best alternative practised universally. “It is therefore worthy to note that there is nothing on the part of this administration like accepting or endorsing grazing reserve and/or grazing bill or cattle colony,” he added.He appealed to citizens of the state to desist from criticising his administration on Facebook to prevent disharmony among the people.
Rev. Soja Bewarang, Plateau CAN Chairman who spoke on the theme ”the endless love of Christ brings unity,” urged the people to continue to pray for the nation and its leaders as prayer can never be enough.