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Farmers/herders’ crisis: NEC approves livestock plan, targets N2trn investment

The National Economic Council (NEC) has approved the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) to address the clashes between farmers and herders in the country. 

This is even as it is targeting to use the plan to attract N2 trillion into the country’s livestock sector. 

Briefing State House Correspondents at the end of the meeting presided over by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, the Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, said the approval followed a memo presented by the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh.

The governor said the council noted the importance of livestock as an economic activity and explained that the plan was designed to enable leading agric business emerge from the livestock sector as in the farming sector.  

“NLTP has been backed up with the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government approval since 2005, because whatever we are doing in the livestock sector must incorporate the ECOWAS protocol, otherwise, whatever success  that is recorded in Nigeria can be complicated by the ECOWAS arrangement which we are part of. 

“It  is about creating condition to launch the peaceful transformation of the Nigerian livestock ecosystem to add, at least, N2 trillion to the economy,” he said.

He regretted that many obstacles have hampered the current policies and strategic intention, at both national and state levels, to improve livestock production in the country. 

Bagudu listed some of the obstacles to include;  limited knowledge of Nigerian livestock assets by size, locations, water and insecurity.

“The approach is to invest in the livestock sector to provide ranches,  mitigating the escalating crisis between pastoralists and farmers.

“The startegy would be supported by the development of an implementation plan, which Mr. President had already approved, that provides a guiding framework to states for implementing NLTP, which will be implemented in phases.”

The governor also gave the balance in the federation accounts as at December 31, 2018.

According to him, the Excess Crude stands at $497,864,626.08, while Stabilisation Account stands at N29,672,829,101.47, and Natural Resources Development Fund stands at N135,476,046,912.57.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has blamed  natives and politicians for the unending clashes between the farmers and herdsmen, saying  it will be practically impossible to stop the free movement of cattle across the country and the borders.

Speaking during a ministerial briefing in Abuja, Minister of Interior, Lt-Gen Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd) argued that since Nigeria is a signatory to the ECOWAS protocol and free movement, it will be an impossibility to stop the movement of cattle. 

The minister equally blamed the clash on the effect of climate change and population explosion, revealing that the situation was responsible for some farmers abandoning their traditional farming areas to encroach into the traditional cattle routes.

While stressing that the problem is being aggravated by some desperate politicians for their own selfish interest, the minister however revealed that desperate efforts are in place to reduce the clashes.

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