By Peter Duru
Makurdi—Benue stakeholders from the traditional institution, the church, socio-cultural organisations, the academia and civil society, have rejected the Federal Government’s proposed National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP, describing it as ‘Ruga plan dressed in new regalia.’
The stakeholders made their position known during an interface with a delegation from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Makurdi.
Speaking for the traditional institution, the Tor Lobi, Chief Moses Anagende and Tor Kwande, Chief Ambrose Iyortyer urged the Federal Government to start with the rebuilding of the homes, schools, churches and other property destroyed during the herders invasion of the state and also rehabilitate the highly traumatised displaced persons who were still languishing in Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs camps.
According to them “the document detailing the NLTP and its implementation only talks about cattle and no other category of livestock, so the plan is aimed at reintroducing the rejected Ruga settlements and cattle colonies for herdsmen.”
On his part, Prof. Amstrong Adejo of the Benue State University observed that the word livestock as captured in the document was holistic but the conclusion was particular about cows.
Mrs. Josephine Haba representing Civil Society Organisations in her submission said, “Benue was recently a theatre of killings but instead of the Federal Government to address the plight of those who suffered the attacks, it had brought an architect to redesign structures for pastoralists in the state, it is saddening.”
Others including Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Benue State, Revd. Akpen Leva, President Mdzough u Tiv, Chief Edward Ujege and former House of Reps member, Mrs. Rebecca Apezan, lamented that security men now escort the Benue people to bury their loved ones because herdsmen had occupied the people’s ancestral homes.
Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Timothy Ijir said Benue was evolving its Agricultural Development Policy which captures the people’s interest.Special Adviser to the Governor on Development Cooperation, SDGs and NEPAD, Dr. Magdalyne Dura had in an address of welcome, stated that the meeting was to explain to the stakeholders in details the LTPS document which had been made available with implementation guidelines, stressing that states were at liberty to domesticate the policy based on their peculiarities.
Head of the Federal Government delegation, Dr. David Nyager had earlier briefed the Benue stakeholders on the National Livestock Transformation Plan saying it was aimed at promoting animal husbandry in the country.